Compare and Contrast

by Jane Davitt

So now I know what Jim Ellison looks like after sex.

If I had to go with one word, it'd be 'younger'. It's the smile; goofy, sure, but with a slick of male ego spicing it up. I got laid, that smile says. I scored. It’s the smile of a teenager, aglow with the discovery of what makes the world go round, and it sure as hell isn't cold, hard cash, but warm, welcoming bodies.

I study him, not bothering to make it covert, because I can tell he's lost in replaying a moment; maybe the one that put that faint, red mark on his throat, the one his shirt collar doesn't hide. I stroke my tongue over my lips and taste a rueful smile.

He's strangely adorable right now and believe me, that's not a word I'd ever thought would fit Jim.

I feel as if I'm a Sentinel myself this morning. I can see the minute changes in the shape of his lips, kissed out of true, the light stubble I know he'll shave off as soon as he can. I can see the incredulous wonder in his eyes of the jackpot winner and the soft light of new love.

After sex, Jim Ellison looks happy.

He goes upstairs to change, and I close my hand around the fragile curve of the wineglass through the napkin I've wrapped it in. I follow him upstairs and take it all away with a few words and leave him a tired man sitting on a bed, unshaven, reeking of a hotel shower gel that's going to make him itch.

I wish I didn't know what he looks like after sex, because I wanted to find that out a different way.

And if I ever do, if I wake beside him one day, my body fucked happy, my own jackpot time, because anyone who gets Jim is one lucky son of a bitch, I'll remember the way he looked today.

Remember. Compare.

God, I wish I could just forget.

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