Quiet Contentment - A McRoll in the REAL World Story
McRollers, reviewers & guest reviewers, thank you so much for the never ending support & love.
Sammy & Ilna, I'm amazed at your talent each and every day. I'm honored to team with you ladies and thrilled to call you my friends! Your comments on this brought me to tears. Many thanks.
Love to all, xo Mari
Saturday 2:00 a.m.
Catherine woke to Steve tracing his fingers over her jaw. She didn't move, didn't open her eyes. Even with them closed, she could tell it was long before dawn; no hint of light permeated her lids. Steve's touch was so soft, if she'd been in a deeper sleep she might not have woken at all.
His quest continued and still Catherine didn't stir. When he'd reached mid thigh, and would have had to shift his weight to trace further down her legs, he started back up her body. Still feather light, his touch was reminiscent of a blind person seeing with their hands, meant to investigative as opposed to arouse.
When Catherine felt him trace each of her ribs, she spoke. "What 'cha doin'?" She breathed, hardly a whisper.
Steve's hand stilled for a brief second, he'd known she was awake for a minute or more. He'd felt her breathing pattern change. "Memorizing." He said simply, before his hand resumed its path.
She opened her eyes and turned her face toward his while remaining flat on her back. She could see his peaceful, contented expression in the dim light. "Figure you've got everything pretty much memorized after all these years, Sailor." She teased gently.
He smiled. "I definitely do."
"So, you've read a book more than once, right?'
She nodded. "Mmhmm."
After trailing over every inch of skin he could reach, Steve's fingers had drifted back to rest on her cheek. "I was re-reading."
Catherine finally moved, to kiss his hand. "Read any different?" She murmured into his palm. "Since you know the ending?"
Steve's smile brightened. "Better. I discover new layers every time."
Catherine reached up and placed a soft kiss on his lips. "Thank you." She settled back down with a sigh, snuggled into his side and drifted off again.
Steve watched until she fell asleep. For the first time in the many times he'd 'memorized' Catherine, he hadn't stopped when he'd felt her stir, nor had his ministrations ended up with them having sex.
Those times had been different. It was usually before or after a deployment. He'd want to ingrain her even deeper into his memory - tactile memories were important to him - or revel in the fact that he had her back in his arms. This was just … because. Because he'd woken from a dream to feel her there by his side. Like he had for over a year now. Except for their reserves service, he'd known where she was every time he closed his eyes. Next to him. Where she should be.
So when he'd woken from a restless, forgotten dream and seen her beautiful, contented face, her relaxed posture, he'd watched her for a full minute before daring to wake her buy tracing his fingers over the familiar curves and planes of her sleeping form … over the body he knew almost as well as his own. One that he undoubtedly treasured more.
And when she'd questioned him, the truth just … came.
Without question, without hesitation, he'd said, "memorizing" and didn't attempt to change the subject or distract her with kisses because he knew this time the truth wouldn't make her sad; it didn't reflect an imminent departure or all too brief coming together until the next one.
Catherine's simple acceptance and 'thank you' made him feel like he was seeing the sun after days of rain. Lighter, warmer, contented.
A glance at the bedside clock told him they had several hours before they needed to rise. Placing a soft kiss in Catherine's hair, Steve sighed and wrapped around her sleeping form. She snuggled closer in her sleep, murmuring 'Steve' quietly against his collarbone, and he began to lose his fight to stay awake.
A smile danced across his lips as he realized he didn't have to fight. His minutes to watch her weren't limited now. He could open his eyes anytime, and see her there. Exactly where she belonged. And so he let go. Relaxing, not in his normal flat-on-his-back position, but still wrapped around Catherine, Steve gave up and gave in and slept. Dreamlessly.
End. Thanks for reading. ~ Mari
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