by Thom Garrett and Danna Colman

The first time she saw him, she wanted him, and she didn’t even know him. She’d read his stories he’d written online, and he’d read hers. They had formed a sort of authors’ friendship, sharing story and character ideas. Neither of them had been looking to become involved, but when they discovered during the 2016 debates that they were on the same team, a connection formed that grew over the months with phone calls and hopes of someday meeting.

As expected, they spent their first night, after those many months of longing for each other, in bed. Although they had fallen in love over the telephone and expected there to be a continuation of their desire for each other, neither had any idea that life would completely shift as soon as they were in each other’s arms. In fact, she had feared and expected the opposite. In past relationships the first night together had always marked the beginning of the end of romance.

He had said he wanted her even when she firmly felt that she never wanted a man in her life again. She woke up thinking about this and turned toward him. He was naked and beautiful, and her body was perfumed with his sweat from the previous night, and their lovemaking scent was still between her legs.

Looking at him asleep next to her, she realized that she had never wanted anybody as much. She was immersed in passion, never having imagined that she would want something like this with him, her writer friend. But now unable to see herself without him, she said, “You know, you could leave your things here for next time, if you’d like. I cleared out one of my drawers and some space in my closet. I wanted to make you feel at home.”

She studied him as he stared back at her with loving eyes. He was warm, tender, and sincere, and everything she had ever wanted, even though she hadn’t known she wanted it. And, she thought, as her desire warmed again, he made her body feel like a violin in the hands of a consummate musician.

“You’re so lovely,” he said, and she let him take her in his arms, realizing that this was far from the end of romance, it was the very beginning.

He first noticed her through her writing, short essays skillfully written about a childhood as foreign as the dark side of the moon, revealing the unexpectedly familiar adult she’d become. She seemed kind and level-headed, the sort of person who might become a writing colleague, or even a Facebook friend, but more than that didn’t even cross his mind. So what could be the harm in a phone call one September night? The first call lasted five hours, and the second one until sunrise, and he staggered off to work exhausted, drunk, and in love.

He pursued her while she twisted and dodged, feeling the same attraction but reluctant to surrender the solitary life she treasured. The more they talked and wrote together, the more he discovered, always to his surprise, that this mature, serious author was, in fact, funny, sometimes goofy and silly, and eventually even flirtatious. He fell head over heels, and when she finally gave up and joined him, they tumbled together in freefall love, but three thousand miles apart.

Their first night together was the perfect culmination of countless hours of dreams, fantasies, and desires. The friend he had thought of more as a writer than a woman, he now considered more a dream come true. He woke that morning drunk with her scent and the heady memory of their passionate lovemaking, finally giving expression to the pent-up passions of their months on the phone.

He dozed, drifting in and out of sleep, aware that the woman who slept next to him was more to be desired than any dream. She was naked and beautiful, and as she rolled over, her fragrance filled his head as her smile filled his heart. She spoke in a sleepy voice, something simple and practical. “You know, you could leave your things here for next time, if you’d like. I cleared out one of my drawers and some space in my closet. I want to make you feel at home.”

He heard so much more than the words themselves. “You can share my life.” “You can stay forever.” “I never want to say goodbye.”

He stared back at her, wanting her, body, mind, and soul. She was everything he had wanted, even when he thought he could never want anyone else ever again. And, he thought as his desire warmed again, she made his body feel like a violin in the hands of a master musician.

“You’re so lovely,” he said as he took her in his arms. He held her tight and felt them tumbling together, two lovers in love, over the edge, off the cliff, in unrestrained free fall for the rest of their lives.