Old lovers, an accidental hot tub meeting in a domed greenhouse, just after a witchy Equinox gathering, soon after his mother has died. She has just waded down into the tub before realizing he was there, watching her.
“Chas, you look like hell.” My meanness comes from confusion. I thought he was in Spokane. What the hell is he doing here? And really, honest to God, he looks horrible.
He’s in one of his thin stages, and gaunt has never looked good on him. The lines across his forehead curve downward, like his mouth. His cheeks sag below his deep-set eyes, blue as ever. The shock of him being here eclipses my dismay at his droopy appearance. He stares at me, his dewy eyes wide open, long dark eyelashes glimmering with tears. Nothing new about that, except that I’m not jumping in to help him with his grief this time.
“Oh, god, Viv, it’s so good to see you! You look as good as ever,” There’s a tiny grin at the edge of his wide mouth, which he tries to hide and I sort of ignore and sort of laugh at. He’s never been one to pass on looking. Meanwhile, I’m staring at him, and he’s obviously been crying, and we’re both embarrassed.
He dips his face forward, into the water, and comes up in moves I know as well as I know as those wide rancher hands. Long graceful fingers slap warm pockets of water onto his stubbly cheeks, splashing his eyes, leaving sparks of moisture on his skin. Clean water drips from his thick blinking eyelashes. He sits up and gives me his disarming peace-maker look, a perky cheek-lifting Hollywood grin; I glare at his inevitable little dimple. Chastened, predictably, he throws himself again at the water.
I scrunch down, savoring the heat. My hands are still, fingertips touching. Not breathing, but not noticing that. Chas’ hands cupping the water mesmerize me. I am the water, knowing how much flesh one of those hands can hold. How much, how well, and how long it’s been. Lean brown-haired arms break the surface of the water, reaching up, carrying the nimble fingers that whisk streams of excess water from his big bony face. I move my hands down my thighs as his fingers move up his face, as steam and smoke drift and settle between us.
There’s enough warm wet air in the dome to make a tiny wind, streaked with swirls of lavender and mint, sage and marijuana. Some leftover witchy all=one feeling comes over me. The slight enough to be imagined breeze touches my face like shy fingertips, and my warm submerged hands travel some magic current, in which I touch his ever-changing still-the-same face, the Chas I have known forever. My hands copy my eyes, following his upward movement, all so familiar that old inner films almost beat him to the ruffling of the fringe that is left at his hairline.
I’m almost sitting on one of my hands, fingers stroking wild curls. Damn. I re-arrange myself quickly, moving past that lusty cunt hiccup. No one needs to know what’s going on under this murky water.