| "The Thin Veil"
by Adhara Law
(c) 1998 Adhara Law. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced
without express written permission by the author.
The dancing shadows from the tall blue tapers played across the walls of the dining
room and scurried over the tablecloth and curtains like mischievous children. She
set the plate carefully at the head of the table and stepped back to admire her
With a weary sigh, she pulled the chair out and sat down, taking a long sip from the
glass of white wine before her. She checked her watch. Quarter past eight. She
didn't give up hope -- it wasn't even a possibility -- but she was disappointed he
hadn't shown yet. Until she heard a faint rustle that drew her out of her reverie.
"You're late," she said with a smile.
"You know how convoluted time can get for me." He crossed the room and embraced her
as she rose. She sank into his arms, losing herself in their feel. When she stepped
back to take in the vision of him, her mouth opened in a small gasp.
"Why, Donovan Bailey," she said. "Is that gray I detect above your ears?"
"Indeed it is, madam," he replied with a flourish. "I was hoping you'd find me more
distinguished as I grew older."
Her eyebrows arched. "You don't have to do that, you know."
"Marie," he began, his voice soft, floating around them in what she felt was sweet
melody. "When I said I wanted to grow with you, I meant it."
She blinked hard as she sat across from him at the table.
She ate sparingly, too busy filling him in on the past year's events. The
candlelight flickered across his features, played in his eyes as they devoured the
vision of her. He didn't eat, but merely sat at the end of the table, entranced by
"Of course," she continued after a sip of wine, "it wasn't the same without you. No
one understood why I was giggling like a schoolgirl during 'Jesu, Joy of Man's
He chuckled. "Bach must have rolled in his grave over that."
Years before, he'd taken her to a concert in the park. The warmth of summer's end
and the darkness of the night sky enveloped them as the sun disappeared, leaving the
two of them, arms tangled, amidst the strains of Bach as they wafted around them.
She could remember him whispering the title of the piece softly in her ear as his
hands had slid deftly and delicately to the warm, dark space between her legs. The
blackness of the night afforded them the privacy to honor Bach's work in their own,
unique way, and they honored it lovingly and hungrily, her fingernails digging into
his thighs as he made her juices flow. She still recalled how her excitement
crescendoed in time with the music, how the allegro movement of his practiced
fingers probed the most secret parts of her as he searched for her moans in the
darkness. She remembered how she released herself quietly under the ministration of
his hand, fading pleasantly into an andante mood as the last bars of the inspiring
work floated away.
"Marie," he said, her back to the dining room and the present. "Don't you
think it's time you thought about finding someone else? Someone to keep you company,
someone to make you happy like that again?"
"You make me happy."
"You know what I mean."
She looked at her plate as her fingers worked the corner of the napkin into tiny
folds. "No one can make me happy like you did, Donovan."
"But you're and --"
"I'm set in my ways," she said, her voice gently but clearly conveying she had no
interest in carrying this conversation thread any further. "No one can replace the
eighteen years we had together. No one."
It wasn't that she hadn't thought about it; she'd met a few who had tempted her
here and there. But Marie Bailey had created a life for herself that didn't allow
for the unfamiliar. It didn't allow for her to give up this.
They rose in unison, so many years giving them the ability to act as one, even now.
He went to her and enfolded her once again in his arms.
"I'm glad," he said softly in her ear. "I don't want to be without this."
She moaned softly as his lips brushed over the soft skin behind her ear. It had
never felt like this, in the eighteen years they'd been married. She'd never felt
the odd sensation of him moving through her like a light breeze, of his hands
tingling over her skin like this, like they did now. Like they had last year, and
the six years before that.
She helped him by removing her blouse and skirt and letting them fall to the floor.
"You never kept such a messy house when I was here," he murmured provocatively,
glancing at the disheveled pile of clothing at her feet.
"I can take liberties now," she replied, her breath rushing to catch up with her
words as his hands traveled over the bare flesh of her back.
She reached behind her to unhook her bra and let that, too, fall to the floor. She
heard a soft groan creep out of his throat as she moved back a bit and stepped out
of her panties.
"Shall we?" She asked as she moved to go upstairs.
He followed her, his eyes dancing palpably over her body, watching her hips sway as
she slowly climbed the stairs before him. In the bedroom, she lost herself in the
darkness and lay on the bed.
She knew she would not feel him slide into her the way he'd done all those years
before. She knew that the hands she felt caressing her skin now and pausing over her
dark, hardened nipples were not real. She felt the now familiar tingle as she joined
with him in a way no other human she knew could do, as his form slipped through the
thin veil that kept them apart now. In her mind, she felt him slide up alongside her
in the bed, her skin on cold fire from the ethereal glow of his touch. She felt him
respond to the warmth and wetness between her legs without words. And while the back
she gripped with fingernails wasn't really flesh and blood, he'd done his best to
create the illusion for her that it was.
They molded themselves together so easily, their familiarity being the greatest
comfort rather than the greatest bore. She felt him everywhere at once -- inside
her, above her, behind her, around her. She felt him touch the deepest crevices of
her mind as the first wave of her orgasm began, and she cried his name out into the
"I still love you, Marie," he said softly.
It was understood that this was their goodbye until the next time they'd meet, one
year later. And as she always did, she went to the cemetery the next day with a
bouquet of yellow daisies, his favorite, and placed them on the headstone of one
Donovan Bailey, loving husband, who'd died of cancer seven years before.
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