Determined sunbeams stretched across rumpled bed sheets, inching their way up the pillow in a desperate attempt to kiss the sleepy face resting there. Sheer, white curtains danced on a gentle morning breeze that carried with it the melodic sound of birds chirping in the distance. Asia couldn't pinpoint what permeated her unconsciousness first, the birdsongs or the sun, but she judged both preferable to the angry blaring of her alarm clock before dawn.
Lazy Sundays were her favorite and she didn't even bother opening her eyes as she reached for her lover. Sliding her hand across the sheets, she found them warmed by the sun but unoccupied and finally opened her eyes to find herself alone. Puzzled, she rolled to her back and craned her neck to locate the clock on her nightstand. The movement brought with it the awareness of an overall soreness followed by the warm blush growing in her cheeks as she remembered last night.
"Natalie," she whispered reverently, closing her eyes and touching her fingers to her lips. Never before had she felt so loved, so complete, as she did with Natalie, and though they had been together nine months, Asia still viewed their union as some sort of impossible dream.
Loneliness set in quickly, and she rolled to the other side of the bed, burying her face in Natalie's pillow and breathing deeply. The scent of jasmine filled her nose as potently as if she were smelling the silky black hair itself, instead of the pillow it rested on each night. Warmed by the sun penetrating her skin and happy with the smell beneath her, Asia pushed away from it all, needing more.
She shuffled to the bathroom to brush her teeth and put her contacts in before reaching for the short, silky kimono-style robe hanging on the bathroom door. She wondered if she'd find Natalie hovering over the morning paper or in the office writing at her computer. Asia smiled, pulling on her robe as she descended the stairs. She found it endearing the way her lover could be so predictable sometimes and so unpredictable others.
Stopping in the kitchen for a cup of coffee, she smiled at the brightly colored frogs on the coffee mug Natalie had given her. The house was unusually quiet, and she wondered what her lover was up to. Natalie required music at all times, but the only sound at the moment came from the large grandfather clock ticking in the corner of the living room.
"Huh," Asia whispered, upon finding the office quiet and dark.
She padded to the garage and found both cars there, as well as the shiny black motorcycle Natalie rode.
"Nat?" She called down the hall, wondering if she'd find her in one of the guest bedrooms but there was no answer.
Every empty room added to the nagging fear that something was wrong. The only place left to look was the basement. Asia sighed, half praying she'd find Natalie there and half praying she wouldn't. Building the dark room in the basement had been both a blessing and a curse, in Asia's mind. She knew it was wrong to feel slighted when her lover threw herself into work, but Nat had promised this weekend would be work-free.
The moment she opened the hall door leading down to the basement her fears were confirmed by the muted red beacon over the downstairs door.
"Damn red light," Asia muttered, closing the door upstairs to avoid contaminating Natalie's work area with any unwanted light.
Finally, she thought, as the soulful strains of Natalie's new favorite artist reached her ears. Asia let herself in and waited until her eyes had adjusted enough to move through the room with certainty. She called softly several times so as not to startle her lover but received no answer. Her fear grew as she reached the entrance to the final section of the dark room.
"Where the hell are...," Asia began in irritation but stopped mid-sentence, shocked at what she saw. Hanging from every available space on the drying line were photographs of her. At least half of them had been taken without her knowledge, and her first instinct was defensive. The other half, however, had been taken last night, and Asia's grip on her mug loosened enough to allow coffee to spill onto the floor and splatter at her toes.
So in awe of the photographs surrounding her, she never even looked down. Moving closer to the drying line on her left, she set her mug down without thought and scanned each picture carefully. She hated having her picture taken, but couldn't deny that her lover had captured the real Asia, time and time again. Her drying dishes at the sink, her knitting in the easy chair, her singing to the radio, her writhing with pleasure in their bed.
"Oh, Nat," Asia whispered, seeing herself in the throes of passion for the first time ever. One after the next, Asia scanned the photographs in awe of the completeness and utter correctness of the images Natalie had captured. Her head tilted slightly back, eyes barely open but visibly unfocused, lips slightly swollen and parted just so; every little nuance of the joy that danced within her last night was evident in the photo.
Dashed were her certainties that she resembled a tortured troll during sex, and there in the quiet darkness Asia let them go without a fight. No blush crept into her cheeks, no embarrassment tightened her chest, no impulse to look away ever invaded her consciousness. For the first time in her life, she felt beautiful. More than that, with the photos staring back at her, she couldn't find a single way to argue that beauty.
The shock of seeing her passion so boldly displayed began to fade as she navigated her way through the shadows of the darkroom. In place of shock grew a sense of wonder. She wondered at the absence of vulnerability she felt while seeing herself more exposed than ever before. The photographs were so artistic that seeing anything less than the truest expression of love and passion was impossible.
Not a single photo smacked of porn or gratuitous body shots. Every line, every shadow, and every expression was a direct display of the storm that raged inside her the moment the camera's shutter snapped. Frame by frame, Asia relived last night almost as if it were happening to her again. Nearing the end of the line, she recognized a distinct tingle in her nipples. Surprised, she also noticed her breaths coming quicker and more shallow than usual.
Tempted to reach up and massage the tightening of her breasts, Asia resisted and moved on to the next to last photo. Memories of her pending climax flooded her brain as well as her senses. The guilty thought crossed her mind that she was growing excited by her very own portrait but it passed the instant she turned her gaze to the final photograph. There, in no uncertain terms, was the culmination of all her passion, all her lust, and all her love for her partner.
"That's my favorite," she heard from somewhere behind her.
Turning so fast she almost lost her balance, Asia yelped in surprise. The room was so dark that she was unable to locate Natalie visually. "Jesus, Nat, you scared the hell out of me!"
"I've been staring at that photograph for hours and still have no idea exactly what about it keeps me rooted where I stand."
The unmistakable tone of bewilderment in Natalie's voice grabbed Asia by the throat. For as long as she had known Natalie, she hadn't once seen her rattled. In fact, it used to unnerve her that the woman was so unshakable. She'd always said that Natalie saw things only in black and white, but something about the way she had just spoken made Asia think her lover had been forced into the unmeasured depths of metaphorical gray area.
"I keep looking away for a moment to clear my head in hopes that when I look back I will gain some sort of insight. Each time, my eyes are drawn directly to the sharp contrast of light and shadow along your arms as they stretch out above you."
Asia stood very still and very quiet, sensing that Natalie wasn't speaking directly to her.
"Then there are your hands. I've always been fascinated with your hands, but there ... the way they're gripping the ironwork of the headboard. It's like nothing else. Strong and in control at first glance; desperate and clinging the next."
Taken aback by the detail and emotion in Natalie's words, Asia turned to face the photo as well. She didn't recall noticing her hands at all.
"Moving down your arms from your hands, I see your muscles strain. In my memory, I know they are convulsing wildly. In the photo, it is the most perfect moment of stillness. The moment I always pray for when I make love to you ... because I can't take it all in fast enough; because I never ever want it to end."
Swallowing hard in a lame attempt to rewet her throat, Asia thought she heard movement behind her.
"Each and everytime I turn the key and unlock your passion, I long for the opportunity to freeze time. I want to trace the hardness of your abdomen in the moment in that photograph with my fingertips, memorize the ridges by feel as well as by shade and shadow."
Gasping, Asia froze when Natalie's hands slid around her waist and nimbly untied the belt of her robe. Reaching inside with warm fingers, Natalie traced a long slow arc from Asia's pelvis, between her breasts, and ending at her chin.
"I want to linger on this shadow with my eyes, letting it slowly lead me up your body. I love the way its contour changes with every heavy breath and the way it stops when your climax grips you."
Asia watched the photograph with her eyes as Natalie redrew each shadow, curve, dimple, and scar on her flesh. The heat of Natalie's body behind her, coupled with the whisper of breath over her ear and neck, was more than enough to capture Asia's interest. The added touching and explanation of what Natalie saw when they made love was enough to have Asia's body thrumming.
"And then I see your face..."
A soft moan slipped into the dark room as Natalie's fingers slid up her neck on either side. Asia wasn't sure who had made the noise, it was so brief, but she was falling so fast with every touch that she didn't care either way.
"I don't always get to see your face, you know? You've this odd little habit of thrashing about until you're facing the headboard. Other times you turn into a pillow. I used to wonder if you were afraid to let me see your passion. Perhaps you were," Natalie whispered, sliding her hand down Asia's abdomen and over the soft curls between her thighs."
Arching her back and pressing her ass into Natalie's waist, Asia moaned when soft fingers parted her lips and slid up the length of her wetness.
"No matter how hard you try, Asia, you'll never be able to hide your passion from me. Anytime I'm this close to you, all of my senses are alert to the lust and passion that lives inside of you. The tension in your body is transmitted directly to my brain by way of your skin against mine. The sounds of your breath and your moans are poetry, explicitly stating what and how you feel. Your wetness on my lips and around my fingers is a fiery hot brand, burning your passion onto my soul," Natalie explained, her voice low and gravelly, as she drove a finger inside her lover.
"Oh God, Nat."
Reaching up with her free hand, Natalie guided Asia's face toward the photograph dangling before them.
"Look," Natalie instructed, slowly pumping her finger in and out of Asia's pussy. "Look at yourself as I make love to you and give me one good reason you should ever hide your face from me. Explain to me what you're afraid I'll see. Tell me you want to keep from me the most beautiful expression of passion I've ever seen. Make me believe you can say it better with words, Asia."
Again Asia's head fell back to Natalie's shoulder. This time, when Natalie reached for her chin, Asia grabbed her wrist. Pulling her lover's hand, Asia reached for the small glow in the dark circle hovering just above them until it rested in Natalie's palm. Tugging on the chain pull, Natalie flooded the room with light. Momentarily blinded, she blinked and struggled to acclimate her eyes. When she was finally able to focus, she found Asia's large brown eyes staring up at her.
"There are no words in any language that could convey my feelings better than what you captured in that photograph."
Natalie's lips crashed down on hers with an intensity she hadn't quite expected. The power of the kiss and the rhythmic pumping within her pussy brought Asia to her knees. Following her to the floor, Natalie moved to lay alongside her lover never breaking the kiss despite the difficulty of maneuvering. Asia's arms wound around Natalie's neck as she tried, in vain, to return the ferocity of the kiss. It was then that she realized she had missed the point.
Relaxing, Asia accepted the love and passion her lover worked so desperately to breathe into her. The more she gave in, the more she received. Loosening her hold on Natalie's neck, Asia's arms fell to the floor. Beginning at her toes, Asia released all control, allowing her knees to fall open easily and grant Natalie copmlete access.
Watching with unbridled interest, Natalie surveyed the changes in her lover's posture and body movements. Where Asia's hips were normally very stationary, they now rocked and tilted against her hand. Moving to the rhythm she set, they seemed to beg for more. Gone were the stifled breaths and pursed lips, replaced by deep heaving breaths interspersed with unchecked moans of pleasure.
Natalie had never been unsatisfied with their lovemaking, but she'd always suspected Asia was holding something back. Watching Asia unravel bit by bit beneath her, far surpassed any of her wildest dreams. Reading her lover, Natalie knew she was getting close and slowed to a stop until Asia's hips reached for her greedily.
Staring down at Asia without wanting to push her over the edge was a difficult exercise of Natalie's self-control. Reaching down to replace her lover's hand, Asia whimpered her disappointment and still Natalie waited.
"Please," Asia whispered, to no effect as Natalie lightly stroked two fingertips along her outer lips.
Confused by the cease in action, Asia opened her eyes and looked up to Natalie. Reward was immediate as two fingers swiftly filled her aching pussy. Pleasure coursed over her middle and up her spine, causing her head to roll and her eyes to close. Again Natalie stopped. She couldn't help but smile as a tiny frown of disappointment graced her lover's face, but it was short lived. Asia opened her eyes again and the moment they met Natalie's the sweet torture began again.
The love and commitment Asia saw in Natalie's eyes was apparent and just before her own eyes closed again she saw the most curious thing. Natalie's usually moss green eyes had turned to a bright, vivid emerald green that glinted in the light. The vision was enchanting and for once, Asia didn't look away. Motivated by her lover's gaze, Natalie slid her thumb over the writhing woman's clit and felt the reaction inside as Asia's pussy squeezed her fingers tightly.
Never looking away, Asia's eyebrows lifted in surprise at the touch and her body's subsequent reaction. It was a different experience, knowing someone was watching your every reaction. Equally different was watching how it affected them. Asia noticed one corner of Natalie's mouth curl with delight when her body jerked hard with pleasure.
You deserve it, Asia thought with an inward smile. No one has ever played my body the way you do, and you should be proud.
Just then, something exploded behind her eyes.
"Oh God, baby!"
Again and again Natalie's fingers plunged into her. A thumb massaging her clit and fingertips massaging her g-spot with every thrust. Lost to everything happening inside her, Asia begged with her eyes, Take me! Finish me, please! In response to the unspoken pleas, Natalie leaned forward, kissed her lover's parted lips and took her body by storm.
Surprised by how vividly she could see the momentary fear of letting go in Asia's eyes, Natalie whispered, "It's okay. I've got you."
Asia's body seized from top to bottom for what seemed like an eternity. Unbelievable muscle contractions spasmed around Natalie's fingers as she watched her lover come undone beneath her. Wild mini-tremors shook Asia's hips and Natalie watched the aftershocks travel all the way up her body. Asia fumbled to hold Natalie but her uncoordinated efforts weren't quite up to task. Natalie withdrew from her lover's sex and moved to lay between her legs, holding her as she came down.
"That was incredible."
Kissing it true, Natalie pulled away with a smile.
"Indeed," Asia replied quietly.
"What's wrong, baby?"
"I came down here all prepared to be angry with you, and like always, you kissed it all away."
A devious and knowing grin formed across Natalie's face and Asia smirked back.
"You really are dangerous, you know?"
"Don't you forget it, beautiful," Natalie responded with a grin before fitting her mouth to Asia's and saying, I love you, without ever saying a word.