How Bright We Shine

Elisabeth sighed softly, wishing for what she felt she could never have. She just wasn’t that type of girl. Gangly and awkward, shy and odd, she simply stood out as strange more than anything else. She was wickedly funny and had a sharp wit, but those didn’t seem to be the qualities that attracted the men she was interested in.

She met Byron in high school and they went to the same college; they had known each other for years. They were friends certainly, but her heart broke a little every time she watched him dating another shallow, insipid girl that only held his attention because she was pretty. Why couldn’t she have that? Why couldn’t see ever be the object of someone’s affections? She knew she’d never be traditionally pretty, but was she really the ugly duckling that she felt she was?

One lonely night there came a knock at her apartment door. It was Byron and he looked so serious that she let him in without questioning why he was there. He stared at her urgently, as if seeing her for the first time, as if dawn had come and he was a blind man seeing the wonder of it. And he crossed the room in two long strides, pulling her to him. “I want to kiss you,” his voice was rough, desperate, as though he had been waiting years for this instant. Elisabeth stared up at him in shock for a moment before her chocolate eyes half closed as she whispered, “Yes.”

His lips closed over hers fiercely, hungrily, and he held her so tightly that for a moment he was scared he would hurt her, but she clung to him just as tightly, returning his kiss with the passion and ardor of a lover who had been denied for too long. She was having a hard time wrapping her head around this moment as he scooped her into his arms and carried her to back of the apartment, to her bedroom, and slowly, reverently stripped her of her clothing. Byron basked in her beauty, beauty that he had finally seen, that had been right there all along. He wondered how he had missed it. His hands skimmed her collarbones, down to her perfectly formed breasts, along a flat stomach, and across her sharp hip bones. A soft curse left his lips as they followed the trail that his hands had left. Elisabeth was stunned as her wildest dreams seemed to be coming true. She didn’t know what had changed and she didn’t care right at this moment.

Byron looked up at her, his green eyes sparkling with need, with a slightly wicked smile on his lips and deliberately stripped his shirt off, revealing a strong physique that wasn’t quite so perfect as Elisabeth had imagined, but the reality was better than the fantasy by far. She silently reached a hand out to him and together they fell into her bed. They shared another rousing kiss and she felt that, at least right now, he was hers and she was his.

Their sex was passionate and gentle and rough and needy, bodies coming together in haste and perfection and neither of them cared about anything beyond this moment. Byron made love to her in a way that she’d never expected to happen. She lost all resistance to him and loved his body as he loved hers. A full moon shone through the window highlighting and shadowing them at the same time and they came together over and over that night, each time more explosive than the last. Elisabeth experienced things that night that she’d never known before. She hoped that things would never be the same after this night, that she would have finally found someone who could see past her looks and into her heart. “I love you Elisabeth. It’s taken me years to see it, but now that my eyes have been opened I never want to lose you.”

Later, lying beside him Elisabeth couldn’t believe what had happened in the span of a few short hours and she wondered what would happen in the future, if things ended too fast, what would she do. She determined that no matter what happened she would make each moment last. She finally could see herself through another’s eyes; he finally could see her for more than a friend. He loved her and she him, but once she wondered aloud, fearfully, if love was enough to keep them together. Byron held her close in her bed and kissed her soundly. “As long as you’re mine we can make it through anything. We’re just making up for lost time.” And they tumbled together, tangled in the sheets and made love as hungrily as ever, letting the night see them shine in a way that had never been before.

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