A/N: Well, this story is a bit different from my usual, in both format and subject matter. I'll continue to add new fragments as I finish them. Hope you enjoy. xx

She was so beautiful as she bucked against me: an apotheosis of hot, kicking life. I clutched her by the thighs, pulled her close, and held her through her shudder and cry—and when she returned to herself, a lustre of sweat on her smiling face, I pressed my hand between her breasts and relished the power of her pounding heart. Words I'd never uttered before flew out, like a gasp:

"Oh, my sweetheart!"

...Eh? What's "apotheosis," you ask? Why, it's the highest expression of an ideal. I suppose they didn't teach you many pretty words like that? The bastards thought you wouldn't ever need them, did they?... Nevermind, it's all right. Etymologially, it's Greek, of course... "apotheosis" is the nominative case, and the genitive is... What's that?... You want me to go on?

Anyway, anyway...

The beloved laced her delicate fingers through mine and let out a luxurious sigh. "And what about you... Andrew, was it?" Her little breasts trembled as she laughed. Oh, the mischief in her eyes! "What do want from me?"

I sidled up beside her, barely able to hold in my excitement. "Sing something," I said.

"Sing?" She furrowed her black eyebrows at me. "Just sing?"

"Just sing."


"Of course."

"What the hell?" She scrutinized my face. A few moments dragged by in silence—and, just when I feared she'd get up to leave, her expression lightened, she took a deep breath, and began to coo a little melody in her native tongue, lilting and soft.

Unable to believe my luck, I lay my own head beside hers on the pallet. Her loveliness washed over me like the drape of her dark hair across my chest. Like waves.

A burst of flapping cut her off mid-song. We craned our necks toward the window, where a bright blue peacock perched gripping the sill in its claws. Head bobbing, it regarded us with black and earnest pearl-shaped eyes.

That's right, friend: an actual goddamned peacock.

When I was young, life was a series of pleasures small and great.

The afternoon flowed on into eternity, or so it seemed at an age when we still had all the time in the world.

Oh, I'm sorry... That look on your face... Have I told you this story before?