She sat cross-legged on the large bed, comfortable looking multicolored cushions placed haphazardly around her. Scribbling in her journal with her tongue half poking out of her mouth and brows furrowed in concentration, Stevie could not have looked more appealing to Lindsey right now even if she’d been laying outstretched on thick cotton sheets wearing nothing but her underwear and a smile. Well, maybe… He shook his head, clearing the thought out with haste, and opened the hotel room door a little wider. It wasn’t exactly a common occurrence that they were even staying in the same building whilst on tour and, as he’d sat alone in his room after finishing up a late night phone call to Kristen, he’d felt the overwhelming urge to spend some time with his friend and had managed to coerce staff to give him a key. Because he and his ex were friends now, he mused with satisfaction. Good friends.

As Stevie shifted position slightly against a pillow, beginning to write on the next page, her mauve silk pajama top lifted slightly and he caught a glimpse of smooth, soft skin. Yeah, just good friends, he insisted to himself, eyes wider, mouth drier and pants tighter than they had any right to be.

"Stevie?" he called softly, not wanting to scare her when she looked up to find him lingering in her doorway. She eventually would have felt his presence anyway; their uncanny awareness of the other person had been both a blessing and a curse over time. Her head lifted gracefully and she smiled at him, beckoning to him as she put her pen and journal to one side of the bed. Closing the door behind him, he moved over to her, hesitating a moment before sitting down gingerly on the edge of the bed.

"I won’t bite, you know. Truly, it wouldn’t be a good thing if you couldn’t play tomorrow because you fell off the edge of my bed. You’d have a hell of a time explaining that. Here, sit properly."

And so he did. Sometimes he had a difficult time of it refusing to do something that Stevie wanted and it appeared that tonight was one of those nights. Maybe he’d mellowed too much recently, given in too much. To be honest, though, it made him happier too, making her happy.

"Bored, are you?"

"Almost fell asleep," he replied, propping a pillow behind his back as he settled on the bed beside Stevie.

"And obviously we can’t have you falling asleep at one in the morning. That would be a crime," Stevie said, grinning. The journal was moved again, to a small table beside the bed, and he resisted the urge to grab it and see what she’d been writing about recently. Well, to see what she’d been writing about him recently, anyway…

"Absolutely. And we both know how much I hate doing the wrong thing," he smirked.

"Not as much as I hated you doing the wrong thing…"

"Lies. You looooooved it," he told her, smilingly, winking at her like he was a young gauche boy of twenty and not a perfectly respectable older married man.

"Yes, Lindsey, because it felt so good to be cheating on our respective boyfriends and girlfriends…" The teasing smile had left her face now and he was sorely tempted to let the conversation lie, not wanting to (for the thousandth time) get into the idea of their guilt versus their pleasure. It was far easier to wave the issue aside, put it down to drugs and never getting closure, instead of talking about why they’d continued to sleep together for so long after their break-up.

"It did feel good," Lindsey said, ignoring Stevie rolling her eyes. "At the time," he added hesitantly.

"I won’t disagree," she confirmed. "You know you were always my best but…"

"And I think it’s a good idea to stop right there."

"What?!" she exclaimed, her hand coming to rest on his forearm. "You’ve got to be kidding, Lindsey? Yeah, we’ll talk seriously until Stevie confirms how sexy and satisfying she found sleeping with her ex and then no more needs to be said?"

Lindsey resisted answering in the affirmative and merely shot Stevie an attempt at an apologetic look which she returned with yet another roll of her eyes.

The following moments were spent in silence. Neither of them had ever been very good with extended periods of quiet together - it made them restless, anxious, too aware of the other person. It appeared some things never changed, as he watched Stevie from the corner of his eye take subtle glances at his hand, resting only an inch or two from her own on top of the comforter. Smiling softly, he took her hand in his, entwining their fingers together. There. That was better. It was entirely unfortunate really that holding her hand was all it took for him to feel so much more relaxed and content than he had been before reaching for her. It was almost like the comfort of playing his first guitar or reminiscing over a childhood prank with his brother. Like the familiar hiss and crackle still there when playing records that they’d bought together decades ago…

It made him miss their intimacy.

Looking around the highly decorated and expensive room, it was difficult not to contrast it with their first little house, the sparse almost furniture-less place which, nevertheless, had been THEIRS and thus held warmer memories than this room or any like it ever would. He could feel Stevie’s thumb gently stroking down his hand and sighed. Once upon a time, he would have just turned to her and smothered her quietness with his lips, bearing her down to their mattress and loving her for hours.

Tonight, Lindsey settled for urging her body closer to his and wrapping an arm around her so that her head came to lay on his chest. She came peaceably, resting against him, resting on him.

And as she lifted her head and pressed a soft, sweet, affectionate kiss to his unshaven cheek, he felt rested. He was home.

RNicole BarkerRComment