The Next Life


Lovina Beach, Bali, Indonesia

They hadn’t given the room two glances when they arrived. The door had barely clicked shut when she put down her bag and hurled herself at him, threw her arms up tight around his neck and found his mouth with hers. He had stumbled back, opened his hands, let keys and wallet and whatever else he was holding drop to the floor, and he’d picked her up, whirled her in his arms.

Then he’d thrown her down on the bed and they had torn each other apart nine ways to Sunday. Erotic madness, all night long, they made love to sleep and woke up only to make love again, until they were exhausted, spent and sprawled across the mattress in a tangle of arms and legs. She vaguely remembered crawling to the bathroom at some point in the pre-dawn hours, then to the mini-bar, coming back to bed with a bottle of water which they had both gulped at like patients suffering from fever before sorting out the covers and careening back into sleep again.

Now, in the full light of morning, she opened her eyes, looked beyond the square footage of the bed, and to her surprise she found her gaze level with the horizon. Her side faced the large, curtain-less picture window which, last night, had been an inky block on the wall. Now it framed the ocean, side to side, one endless expanse of indigo with a crystalline line where it met the paler blue sky.

She pushed up on her elbow and now a swathe of bone-white sand filled the picture. She slid noiselessly out of bed and stood at the window, transfixed by the view: blue ocean, dappled with white, as far as her eyes could see, beyond her periphery, the horizon curving ever so slightly. Not a trace of humanity was visible, not a soul, not a footprint, just endless waves lapping the shoreline and a pair of seagulls hopping in the shallows.

“You’re beautiful…”

She looked back over her shoulder. He lay on his side, just his head and one shoulder out of the covers, but his eyes were open, watching her. For several minutes neither of them spoke or even smiled. They just stared, connecting over the small space between them, understanding what it all meant, savoring the significance of this morning. Slowly one of his arms emerged from beneath the comforter, unfolded across the expanse of mattress where she had been a minute ago, and his fingers reached to her, something so tender and yearning about how they uncurled and stretched into the air, wanting her.

“Come back,” he whispered.

Holding his gaze she went back over to the bed, put her hand in his and let herself be drawn down to him. He pulled her against his chest, ran his hands over her head and kissed her face, then gently rolled her so he could hold her from behind.

Tucked in his arms, small and sheltered, facing the window and the view, she snuggled her shoulder blades into his chest, feeling him hard and impatient against her, as he was, so often, hard for her in the mornings, so many mornings of quick fast love in the hours of dawn, only a few moments to linger tenderly afterward, before he had to spring from bed and put on his game face, go back to that other world where he belonged. But now, today, the ocean and sky lay spread out before them, the day stretched into a glorious vista of nothing to do and nowhere to be, and the world, at last, was theirs. He, at last, was hers.

“Welcome to the next life,” she said softly, tilting her hips back and guiding him inside her.

A low sigh of contentment sounded deep in his chest. His arms wound tighter about her body. He crushed her against him and buried his face in her hair. “I didn’t think it would ever happen.”

Her hands slid along his forearms, wrapped around his wrists, held onto him. “You feel so good.”

He pushed into her further, pulling her deeper into his lap. His mouth was so soft on her neck. “This is all I want today,” he said. “This. Only this. Just having you whenever I want.”

“We’ll just stay in bed all day?” she teased.

“All day,” he affirmed. “I mean it.”

“Do you?”

“This is what I’ve waited for…just to ignore time, throw it away. I never want to wear a watch again.” She laughed softly in his embrace, his happiness splashing onto her, his delight so tangible as he went on, “I’m never going to ask you what time it is. Ever. The only time I care about is when we’re going to make love next…”

She freed one hand and reached it back over her shoulder, caressing his face, feeling his smile in her palm, running her fingers through his hair. “You’ll have to feed me at some point,” she said happily.

“Oh I’ll feed you all right. ” He gathered up her hair, moved it aside and set his mouth at her nape. “You’re gonna need the energy to keep up with me.” He was moving more intently now, moving with a purpose, holding her where he wanted, sliding into her quick and sure and hard.

“Oh really,” she replied, trying to sound blithe but he was moving in her, he had nothing to do but be in her, so hard, so hot, and she was starting to come apart.

“You have no idea,” he went on, kissing his way carefully down her spine, a little bit of teeth on her skin, a little touch of his tongue on her bones. “I’m gonna fuck you until you can’t remember your name.”

“I’d like to see you try,” she whispered, with difficulty, the words falling apart in her mouth because he was in her and it was coming on, coming around, rising up over her like a rogue wave. Always in the mornings when his body was coiled tight with insistent longing but hers was still wreathed in sleep, he could make her come so hard and so easy, even if they didn't have much time. But now they had nothing but time and she could have him any way she wanted - fast, slow, hard, gentle, tender, filthy, they could make love or they could carelessly screw, or any variation in between, all day, all night. Nothing but time and nothing but him and she needed nothing else, not even her own name, which was gone now, it was his name in her throat, in her chest, his name she called out to the morning, his name in the ocean outside the window and the life they had waited for stretched out beyond the horizon…