Eve’s sculptures capture the cries of agony as the plague ravages mankind. I call her the collector of tears.I watch her, waiting, biding my time. Alone in her rickety castle she knows nothing of my intentions.
We’re the outcasts, the freaks, the dregs of this broken realm, but we will rise and I will make the strange artist my queen.
Hidden from sight, fiercely protected by her kin, untouched by any man.
I’m the devil to her angel, and together we will save the world.
I hold out my hand and hover it closer to where his face should be. “Can I see you?”
“What do you mean?” He takes my hand, but then he just holds it.
“Can I…touch your face? Make an image of you?”
“Do you want to make a statue out of me after? Screaming in agony?”
“Maybe,” I say. “Is there agony in you that wants out?”
“Oh, you wouldn’t know half of it.”
“Try me. Can I?” I tense my fingers and spread them, increasingly eager to trace the pattern that are his features, to build a map of Adam. Yes, maybe I’ll make art out of him if I get the chance, but I need to learn him first.
Adam releases my hand and moves. He pulls me up and shuffles around until we sit in front of each other on the bed.
“Go for it. What do you want me to do?”
“Close your eyes unless you want me to poke them.”
“Right,” he says with a scoff. “That’d be the last thing you did.” The words are threatening, but he sounds playful. He’s a man full of surprises.
“Well, then keep them closed. And stay still.” I hold out both my arms and let my hands descend on his head.
I’ve touched people’s faces before. Plenty. But this one is different. Adam has heat radiating off him, a special kind of warmth that makes my skin tingle. His hair is silky where mine is rough. I don’t know why I know it, but he comes off as dark haired. His head is a little rounder than mine, and larger. He has fuller ears.
And he twitches.
“It tickles, dude!”
“Don’t be such a boy.”
“You’re awfully brave all of a sudden.”
“I can’t see you if you’re all twitchy.” My fingertips rest loosely against the sides of his jaw. His muscles work as he seems to grind his teeth.
“Get on with it. But no tickling.”
I stroke along a squared jaw, covered in rough stubble that pricks my skin. The stubble continues down, down, down, to where the neckline of his shirt stops my exploring.
“If you want me to get undressed, just let me know.”
I slap him. Lightly. On instinct. “Hey, you monkey.” He is a monkey. So hairy. I put my hands back on the top of his head. I just have to check something. His hair doesn’t stop in his nape. It goes on forever. I find a tail and let it slide between my fingers until I finally reach the end on his mid-back.
“Satisfied?” he rumbles.
I move along the sides of his face until I find his nose, broad, but not wide like mine. His nose protrudes more and has a little bump. I brush across long eyelashes, bushy eyebrows and a strong horizontal ridge along his lower forehead. I don’t know what ‘beautiful’ is, but I like his features. They speak to me.
I let my hands fall, gasping when he catches them mid-air.
“You forgot something.”
His words send a bolt through my belly. I didn’t forget his lips as much as I pushed their existence out of my mind.
“I already touched it.”
“It doesn’t count.”
I have no resistance when he raises my hands and puts the tips of my fingers against his soft full lips. “I don’t need—” I say faintly.
“Would you rather explore with your tongue right away?”
I swallow hard and lick my lips, my mouth desert dry, then I nod and tense my fingers, following the soft-hard plump swelling of his lower lip to the corner of his mouth, then along his upper lip, past his cupid’s bow and all the way to the other corner. I’ve never touched anyone like this. This is not how you do it. This is a game that builds a thick energy between us, an energy that feeds our hunger and brings heat to the surface of our skins. I feel it in my own. I feel it reflected in his.