Try A Little Tenderness

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This is story no.2 about Hari ‘This is good,’ in a way that would suggest he was pleasantly surprised.

‘Hey!’ I say, and jab at his leg under the table.

He laughs, grabs my ankle and holds me until I stop trying to kick him. When I put my foot back on the floor I feel both of his feet moving onto mine, trapping them underneath him. Have I said how much I love this man’s handsome feet? He presses down on me, sometimes rubbing around my ankles, tickling, caressing.

‘I’m so glad you’re back. It felt empty without you.’

‘Here?’ he asks, raising his eyebrows.

‘No. I didn’t come here much when you were away. Only to check on the mail for you. But even my apartment felt empty without you.’

He reaches out for my hand over the table and holds it, tracing over it with his thumb. Smiles, quietly. And carries on eating.

‘Did you finish your paper?’ he asks.

‘Yes. Finally! Last night. I’ll submit it to the committee on Monday.’

‘And they’ll publish it, they’d be mad not to.’

‘I hope so.’ Where Hari has been teaching me all about passive design principles for new buildings, I’ve been teaching him about child psychology and bereavement. He’d sit up in bed reading my draft articles as if they were novels, full of questions for me, helping me to unknot my grammar. We’re both avid readers. It’s one of the things we had in common when we were simply friends, when we’d find a quieter corner of the room, restaurant or cookout to exchange reviews and compare favourites, while everyone else chattered, ate, played petanque or tennis or whatever, around us.

I put down my fork. Done eating.

‘So who was on the phone just now?’ he asks, a little tentatively, his feet pressing me down to the floor.

‘Oh. Yes. That.’ I sit back, surprised that I’d forgotten all about it until now. ‘That was Margo. She, uh – I, um, I asked her to look at my old house, you know, to value it and all.’ I can’t look up, but feel him sitting back in his chair opposite. ‘And, um, so she did that a couple of days ago.’ I nod. ‘A good price. Better than I’d hoped for. And, uh, she’s found a buyer.’ Now that I’ve got through all of that, I look up.

Hari leans forwards, takes both almanbahis my hands in his.

‘How do you feel about it? A buyer already!’

‘I know, right? Shaky, I guess.’

‘What price are they offering?’

‘I don’t know. I suspect that was Margo calling to let me know.’

‘Wow. A lot has happened since I’ve been away,’ he’s looking into my eyes, searching for me.

I nod. ‘We talked about it before you left, but I guess I just thought that actually, it is about time for me to sell it. I haven’t been living there since Declan died, and it’s not as though I could ever imagine going back there. We bought it when we thought we’d be having a family, kids … so -,’ I shrug.

He’s twisting my hands around and threading his fingers through mine.

‘Live here. With me.’

My heart spins. I tip my head up, fighting to hold back my tears. I really do know that selling the house is the right thing to do, but – that doesn’t make it any less hard a decision. I can’t speak.

‘I mean, not here, necessarily. It’s tiny, not more than a shack. But we could find somewhere together that we both like,’ he continues, gripping my fingers tight with his.

‘No! I mean,’ as a look of horror and dejection passes over his face, ‘I mean, yes! But here – let’s live here. I love this house. I loved this house the first time you brought me here.’

He pulls me to him across the table and we kiss.

‘You taste of dinner,’ he says when we break.

‘And so do you!’

He seems to hesitate, just for a second or two, and I wonder if he’s about to say something, but instead he kisses me again, much more deeply this time.

And then Otis Redding starts singing ‘Try a little tenderness’ from his spot in the living room. It’s one of Hari’s favourites. He pulls me up from my chair, takes me by the waist and we dance.

Hari dances. I hadn’t known this before, when we were just friends. But he loves it, and is good too. A good sense of rhythm, a natural grace, and a gentle but confident way of holding me. No wonder he’d always asked me about the ballet classes I take. His ex-wife Anya had hated dancing, apparently. I can’t imagine that. We sway around the kitchen, holding almanbahis adres each other close, then picking up tempo with the music, but he never lets me go, singing the words into my neck, spinning me around for the finale. We both laugh as he holds me against him, my back to him, his arms and mine both crossed around my ribs.

We sway some more as the next song starts to play. I catch sight of us, standing there together, reflected in the kitchen window. Hari’s looking too, and we both look at each other, in the glass, together.

‘I never want to be away from you for this long ever again,’ he whispers in my ear. We both exhale, and I feel my desire welling up for this man. ‘You’ve no idea how much I missed you,’ and he’s kissing me, up and down my neck, licking and teasing me with his tongue, his lips, moving his hands to my breasts, finding me already aroused through the dress fabric, teasing my nipples as they harden. I shiver from head to toe, feeling him pushing against me, hard. I gulp for air, realising I’ve been holding my breath. Pushing my ass back onto his cock, rubbing and gyrating against him. He’s moving me forwards now, up against the sink, my hip bones pressing up against the cool ceramic.

We slip into our rhythm so easily. I love the way his breath is already hot and ragged on me, how he’s unzipping the back of my dress, pulling it off my shoulders and down to my waist, licking his fingers and circling my nipples with them, wetting them.

‘Hari,’ I murmur. He looks up and at our reflected selves.

‘Remember the first time we did this?’ he’s asking, biting on my ear lobe. ‘I’ve been the luckiest man alive since that night.’

A tremor passes through me. I reach my arms up to hold his head as he bends down to kiss my shoulder, and I watch myself stretched out like this, uncovered, naked. Watch as his left arm moves in-between my breasts, flicks across my belly, pushing down in-between my hips and the sink to find me. He presses his hand into my knickers. I whimper, nearly losing myself at his first touch, shaking, dropping my arms to hold on to the sink. Watch as he pulls his other arm behind me, to his own crotch, unbuttoning his shorts, releasing almanbahis giriş his cock, pulling the skirt of my dress up, pushing his cock in-between my buttocks. Pausing, I feel him move away from me, and I’m unbalanced without his body supporting me.

‘Put these back on,’ and he’s nudging my shoes towards my feet with his own.

I hesitate, not sure I understand.

‘Put them on. It’ll make for a better -,’ and he strokes my ass, and now I understand.

Pull the shoes across, slip my feet back into them – a few inches taller now.

Hari pushes up against me again, his cock so hard between my legs, feeling so good there, and I rock my hips backwards and forwards as much as I can, pressed between his hips and the sink, his hand flat across my belly, pushing me against him, fingers inside my knickers.

I gasp and moan. Push back, as I feel his other hand snaking down my ass, pushing my legs further apart, pulling my knickers to one side, making room for him to touch me, both of his hands there now, his fingers stroking and caressing me, but I am already there, gripping the sink so hard, I cry out, as he rubs me with his fingers and his cock, so wet, ‘Hari!’

He holds me until my breathing slows a little, and then uses his hips to start moving both of us again, until I can feel him pushing his cock into me, using his hand until he’s in the right position. Pushes in. All the way. I exhale, still trying to catch my breath, adjusting to his size, feeling the stretch, fumbling my hands over the faucet and onto the window sill to brace myself as he quickens the pace, pushing into me, hard and urgent. It’s bruising my hips as we smack into the sink together, our breathing loud and ragged, his mouth sucking and biting my shoulder. My senses are overloaded. A slight breeze from the open door whispering over my breasts, my calf muscles straining as I raise up onto the balls of my feet to let him in deeper, feeling so full, my knickers forced to one side and pulling tightly against my clit and between my buttocks, his hand hot on my belly, urgently pressing me into him.

‘Hari,’ I’m panting.

‘Unh. Fuck,’ he is groaning into my neck, ‘Fuck, you feel so good.’ I can feel the sweat on his face, his stubble burning my skin, but I am lost, and feel him, too, falling over the edge, his whole body tensing, thrusting into me, my muscles gripping him, pulling him deeper inside me, over and over again, until he has no more to give me.

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