Chapter Seven - Sweet Bliss

The kiss was sudden, sipping into indulgent as Tristan kissed her back. Sophie was only distantly aware of the hot tea in her hands, but the fire within her burned even hotter as his tongue teased and tasted her own, giving as good as he got. The world went fuzzy around her, all sound and sensation being drowned out by the rush in her ears, the pulse in her veins, the need, the want

“Wait,” he said, when they both came up for air. His face was still close, his hand still cradling her head. “You’re crying… and, forgive me, but I do not make a habit of kissing women who are crying.”

“I’m not crying anymore,” Sophie said. Her mouth was tender, kiss-bitten already, and the wetness on her cheeks was damp, but drying. She smiled at him.

Tristan laughed softly, and kissed her, just as softly, on her mouth. 

“No, I suppose not.” 

“I’m sorry,” Sophie began, but Tristan silenced her with another gentle kiss. 

“No more apologies, Sophie. Not for feeling sad, not for being angry. Not for being human.”

“Where did you come from?” she mused. “How are you real?”

Tristan took the tea from her grip, set it down carefully on the table. Sophie flexed her hands, feeling the heat from the tea dissipate, feeling every heightened sensation in every inch of her skin. She was done apologizing for who she was, or what she wanted.
And she wanted
so much. How had she forgotten what it was like to want this much? 

She was done looking backwards at what might have been. It was time to look at what was in front of her, and what was yet to come. 

Hopefully, she was one of those things yet to come… 

“I’m not crying anymore,” she repeated. “And you… you’re here. You came to my door for a reason.”

He nodded, swallowing thickly as Sophie pushed the coat off of her shoulders, revealing her scandalously bare outfit to him. 

“It was probably a very good reason,” she continued. “Wasn’t it?”

Tristan nodded, but his gaze was distant, glassy, and dark as he surveyed her. 

“Yes,” he managed, but it came out more like a groan. 



Sophie laughed. She slid her arms out of the coat and sat up straighter, proudly showing her body off to his searching, heated gaze. 

Tristan reached up and trailed a fingertip along the edge of one deep blue satin strap; her skin prickled as he brought it down her chest. Her whole body was coming alive. He let out a shaky breath and flattened his hand to her skin, palm warm over her sternum, over her heart. His touch wasn’t lurid or groping; he just touched her, like he was making sure she was real. 

She was real. This was, in fact, the realest Sophie had felt in a long, long time. 

And she wanted more. 

She was sad to feel his touch fall away as she stood up, but the reward was the expression on his face as he took her, all of her, in for the first time. The coat, left behind on the couch, had concealed her full form, but now that she was standing there, the look in his eyes said everything. 

This was the lingerie she had chosen, before she had known…

But she wouldn’t think of that now. This wasn’t a place for Ava, or for Greg. There was only one person invited to this moment, and Tristan was watching her, watching as she echoed his movements with her own touch, chasing his fingers down until she could intertwine them with her own. 

“You are beautiful,” Tristan said, in a hushed, reverent voice. 

Another time, another moment, another life, Sophie might have played off the flattery, but this was a precious space, and she knew his words were true. She was beautiful, and she was worthy, and she deserved everything she wanted in this moment, in this life. No more hiding. No more pretending, no more waiting. 

No more planning. 

Now, only impulse, heady and strong, compelled her towards him. 

When Tristan stood, he gave her one last look before gathering her willingly into his arms. He carried her like she was lighter than a feather over to the bed, and her heart soared. When she landed on the white sheets she laughed, and Tristan’s smile made the corners of his eyes crinkle up. She felt overtaken by pure joy. 

And then, an instant later, overtaken by him

He crouched atop her, his mouth once more on hers as he tasted her. Sophie met him, kiss for kiss, taste for taste, until she was as breathless as he was. He held himself above her with his strong arms, but between her legs she could feel the weight of him, the press of him through the layers of clothing, his clothes and hers, for all that there really wasn't much of hers to contend with. It was still too much fabric, though. Too much dividing them, and she wanted more, she wanted everything. 

Sophie was more than ready for things to progress in a more direct fashion, but to her surprise, Tristan pulled away, trailing his kisses down her jawline, across the fluttering pulse at her neck, and down the center of her chest as she writhed eagerly beneath him. Her body was all confusion now, sensations tugging her here and there: She wanted to kiss him forever, and never stop; she wanted him to lick her, to suckle her, to drive her wild; she wanted, she wanted...

"Let me hear you, love," Tristan said. His voice was low and raspy with desire. A plea, not a command. 

Sophie happily, loudly complied, giving no thought whatsoever to what anyone in the shop below might hear, or think, or imagine. He was driving her mad. 


Tristan smiled through the kisses he was placing over her belly, and moved his way down. 

The world became a blur around her. Sound, sensation, every point of contact between her skin and the sheets, the silk, his mouth, narrowed to a single, focused point within her. Pleasure coiled low in her belly, inevitable, fierce and compelling. Her hands were still in his hair; she worried, distantly, that she was going to tear it out by the root when she came, but the way Tristan softly groaned when she tugged made the worry slip away. The sensation built and built, until she could not hold back any longer, until her legs shook and she was overtaken by the wave of pleasure. 

It felt like flying. 

It felt like freedom—the freedom she had longed for, the love she knew she had always deserved, the pleasure that was hers, given freely, given joyfully. 

When Sophie at last caught her breath, Tristan was smiling. 

She saw the joy in his eyes, and knew it was a mirror of her own. 

The rest of the evening passed in a slow, pleasure-filled blur. They tangled together in the bedsheets, clothing flung here and there across the tiny apartment. There was laughter, and sighs, and gasps, and murmured endearments in more than one language. Some time, late in the night, Sophie lay there in bed with Tristan sleeping beside her. His skin looked bronzed against the white of the sheets, and her soul felt...

She felt happy. 

She felt good.

And it was a marvel, that feeling. It didn’t arrive within her with guilt chasing quick behind. There wasn’t anything she was supposed to do, anywhere she had to go or be. She could just exist, and enjoy, and indulge. That feeling was steady, and it was something she had always compartmentalized, something she had always scheduled, told herself she'd make time for it. Now, it was here, like the scent of rain in the air, comforting and calm. 


Sophie looked over at Tristan. His mouth was soft, and his face looked peaceful. She marveled at the length of his dark lashes. Slowly Tristan fell asleep. And, after a while, so did Sophie.

Chapter Eight - By Morning Light

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