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Past Simming

By Ginger

Late at night was the worst.

Despite his claim to Sydney, years earlier, that he was no longer lonely now that he was free, the truth was that life on the run was indeed lonely, sometimes painfully so. It was most acute at times like this, when he was between pretends and didn’t have a solid lead on his family, leaving nothing with which to occupy his time. Early on his endless curiosity about the world around him helped to fill these voids, but the novelty had worn off considerably over the years. Sometimes he’d become so desperate that he’d find himself wishing for a message from Argyle, begging for assistance of some kind or another. His hapless friend did have a unique talent for getting himself into trouble.

But the majority of the time he sought solace from a familiar source. There was his former mentor, of course, but he felt increasingly guilty about depriving him of much-needed rest. Sydney often looked weary in their face- to-face encounters, despite his warm smile and enthusiastic greeting. There was no doubt about it; he was aging. One day he would no longer be a telephone call away, a concept evoking such blind terror that it was never dwelled upon for very long. No, there was another source, a person whose sleep he had absolutely no qualms about interrupting. She obviously didn’t need it; in each and every face-to-face encounter she was never anything but stunningly beautiful. And cranky, of course, but that monster brother of hers was right about one thing: she wore her anger well.

Smirking, he picked up his cell phone and dialed. At the sound of that familiar, adorably sleepy, “What,” his smirk evolved into a wistful smile. Leaning back in his chair, he glanced at his watch to find that it was 3:42 a.m. then crooned with a Cheshire-Cat grin,

“Rise and shine!”

Clicking off his cell phone, he heard the resulting “beep” echo behind him and turned in his chair just in time to see her place her phone on the nightstand. Rolling her eyes at him she inquired,

“Happy now?”

He nodded emphatically in reply.

“I’ve met my share of weirdoes over the years but you definitely take the cake,” she remarked as she settled back into the large bed that served as the centerpiece of their current lair, adding, “Now drag that pretty little fanny of yours back to bed, you little pervert.”

He didn’t move a muscle. Shaking off the effects of the simulation, he took a moment to experience the profound relief and boundless joy coursing through him.

“I mean NOW,” she demanded but he could hear the smile in her voice as she warned, “Don’t’ MAKE me come get you.”

That tone never failed to get to him and he was on his feet in a flash. He loved it when she was bossy. Well, now that her demands were so amenable.

“Yes, Ma’am!” he called across the large, industrial space that formerly housed a small factory then padded swiftly to the bed and climbed in beside her.

She immediately curled around him and, teasing aside, he could tell by the way she held him that she still had reservations about their monthly ritual. At his insistence, they had performed it in the pre-dawn hours on the 13th of every month to mark the anniversary of that night, six months earlier, when he had returned very late to his lair to find her asleep on his bed.

She placed a tender kiss on the mole under his right eye then pressed her lips to his ear to whisper, “Why do you insist on doing that to yourself, making yourself feel that way when you don’t have to anymore? Am I so difficult to live with that you need to remind yourself there are worse things?”

Sensing that she was only half-joking he hugged her tightly and replied, “Quite the opposite; you make me so happy that I’m afraid I’ll forget and begin to take this all for granted. And I never want to do that. Not only would it be dangerous – because I might let my guard down and place ourselves or the people we care about in jeopardy – but it would also be wrong. I’m a lucky man and I’d do well to remember it.”

“As if I’d ever let you forget it,” she sighed, her eyes slipping closed.

Pressing his smiling lips to her forehead, he closed his eyes to join her for a couple hours of sleep. After all, there was the rest of the ritual to look forward to: waking her at dawn to make love to her as the sun rises, just as he had done for the very first time exactly six months ago.

Early in the morning was the best.

FIN











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