Repairing A Heart


elaine2_icon.gif rhett_icon.gif

Scene Title Repairing A Heart
Synopsis After an unexpected meeting, Elaine returns home to process.
Date January 16, 2020

Cresting Wave Apartments

When Elaine gets home, she'll discover a rather interesting sight on the couch. Rhett is laying on the couch, on his back, clearly resting; his eyes are closed, he's in a green t-shirt and some gray, comfortable lounge pants….

And there is a lady with him, laying on his chest and abdomen.

Inger, the fluffy, smushed-face cat, has draped herself comfortably on Rhett, her paws stretched out full extension, rising and falling smoothly with her napping human bed's relaxed breathing. Rhett stirs a little at the sound of the door, but Inger looks entirely unaffected, continuing her royal, relaxed snooze.

She hadn’t intended to be home so soon, but circumstances were extenuating and Elaine finds herself entering the apartment once more. As the door shuts behind her, she notes the presence of Rhett asleep on the couch with the pampered Inger, but when she sees that neither of them have fully woken, she pauses nearby. Her shoes are removed and set aside and she moves around to the front of the couch.

She doesn’t try to rouse him, she simply slides to the floor in front of the couch. She leans her head against his knee, shutting her eyes as she just stays there, unmoving unless he stirs in some way.

Inger makes a noise first, a soft little 'prrrrrrt?' at Elaine approaching. Rhett moves a little bit, though not in a way that upsets Inger, and opens his eyes a little to register first the cat, then past her at Elaine by his knee.

"MMmm," Rhett comments, blinking twice, and extends a hand loosely off the side of the couch, finger uncurling, as a smile warmly flows out for Elaine. "Hi," Rhett says, drowsy, warm, and comfortable.

Elaine scoots a little closer, adjusting so that she can rest her head against his hand. She gives him a slow smile. “Hi,” she replies, though she makes no move to really disturb his nap so much. She just seems to want to be there. She shuts her eyes, resting there against him, not bothering to say much of anything at the moment. For all intents, she seems fine other than arriving home a touch early, not that he’d notice with the napping.

Rhett clears his throat. "I missed you today," Rhett says calmly, eyes moving to her face as she rests it against his hand, bringing his forefinger up to stroke her cheek just a little bit, brushing fingers gently over her skin, which draws a softened smile to his face.

"If you'd like to join me, we can have the fuzzy one here make some space," Rhett suggests, his other hand moving to the cat, petting her briefly, which causes Inger to stretch all four limbs out and then curl into a small floofy cinnamon bun shape on Rhett's lower chest.

“That would be nice,” Elaine murmurs, opening her eyes. She crawls up to try and settle close against him, doing her best not to disturb the cat. She takes her time, trying to position herself well. When she finally seems satisfied with how she’s settled, she rests her head in against him and shuts her eyes one more time.

“I missed you too. I’m glad you’re here.”

"Welcome home," Rhett says sleepily, stretching one leg out. The movement finally has gotten to Inger, who gets up, stretching her cat body in an arch, and hops down. "She'll be back," Rhett chuckles deeply, but puts all of his attention on Elaine, instead. "But I rather have you. She was keeping me warm in your absence, though."

Rhett opens his arms a little more, indicating for Elaine to more fully move into his embrace if she'd like on the couch. "I started some of the painting today, in that I did some taping in the other room, and moved some furniture away from the wall," Rhett murmurs.

“I’ll keep you warm,” Elaine murmurs, burying her face against him. “It’s good that you’re working on things. I tried to go see if I could buy a few things to decorate, but that went a little differently than I would have liked.” She doesn’t seem too interested in moving her head, quite the opposite at this point.

“I just want to stay here for a while.”

"Then stay here always," Rhett agrees, smiling, and lifting one hand to stroke over her shoulder and arm, moving his fingers softly over the exposed skin there, just soft, comfortable. His breathing is even and deep, his head relaxed, neck exposed. He lets his eyes close, and exhales.

"I'm glad to be warm." He continues to pet her arm, then a little bit of her shoulder, with where his hand can easily reach due to their position. There's complete patience from Rhett; he's comfortable and has Elaine with him.

Elaine leans in to press a small kiss to the side of his neck before resting her head against him again. “I like being here,” she murmurs. “But going out was a mistake. It was fine and then it wasn’t.” She’s still sorting out what to think. “I literally bumped into Robyn. Crashed into her. I don’t know how to explain how it went.” She rubs her face a bit with one hand before just crushing herself against him.

“Bad and okay? Both?”

There's an evident body language shift as soon as Elaine mentions that she bumped into Robyn. It isn't tension, exactly, but Rhett opens his eyes and looks down at her, and his stroking stops. At least for a moment.

He changes to set his palm on her arm instead, and he frowns a little bit, curling her to him as she crushes in tightly.

"It can be both," Rhett says, thoughtfully, though he's frowny. He doesn't like that Elaine's unhappy or upset. "Did you talk?"

“I kept trying to walk away and she kept trying to walk away and it was… she was mean. I just wanted to tell her that I was glad she was uninjured and safe from her trip and she didn’t seem to like the idea of getting along initially,” Elaine shakes her head a bit before peeking back at him. “She just seemed upset. We didn’t really talk.”

Rhett's quiet for a long pause while he decides what he thinks about it. "People sometimes just need some time. To process. To heal," Rhett says, finally. He's thoughtful, and his tone is even, though his words are generous, his tone isn't exactly that. He's not pleased, but he is supportive of her.

"It was stressful, then? She was mean? I'm sorry, honey," Rhett says, honestly, smiling into her eyes when she peeks at him, brows lowered with concern. "It's over with now, though, yes?"

“I guess. I mean, I could have been mean. I just didn’t. I just wanted her to honestly be okay and find what she needed in Antarctica. Because she’s a person I considered a friend. She seemed snippy and said she wasn’t my problem anymore,” Elaine glances up at him. “I think we ended on an okay note. We aren’t friends, though, so there’s that. Polite to each other.”

She shrugs lightly. “So I guess that’s it.”

"That's because you are a wonderful, caring person, with a big heart," Rhett tells her, moving one hand to cradle the back of her head, curling his fingers into her hair, slowly massaging there.

"Both sides need to want friendship for it to work," Rhett asks, uncertain if he's properly detecting what she wants. "If she wants space, it's best to do that, I think. But I think you should trust your instincts, whatever those are." Rhett continues to touch her hair.

“She told me once, something like a year ago, that we were never friends.” Elaine sounds particularly hurt by this bit. She shrinks a bit against him, eyes shutting. “She wasn’t sure she could be ‘just a friend’. That was about the time we got back together. She was my best friend.” Her voice is a little tight. “I can’t change that, it’s out of my hands, but I don’t have to feel okay about it.

There’s a sensation of defeat as she slumps against him. “I told her the truth, that I was glad she was okay, and that if she needed anything she knew where to find me. Truth be told, it’s the friendship that hurts the most, not the relationship. We were roommates before we were ever together and I always considered her my best friend. That’s what she was, first and foremost, and the fact that she doesn’t think that it was ever about friendship, that it was always about a relationship the entire time… and now she’d rather not be in my life at all than be my friend.”

There’s a little noise from her that sounds like a bit of a sob. “That just hurts.”

Rhett just holds her, as warm and safe as he can. "If she… if she decided to make this all or nothing with you… that's on her, honey," Rhett says softly, frown deeply etching into his features. He'd like to help, but how isn't always a clear or obvious path. Particularly with an ex that is clearly hurting her.

"It seems like… she is trying to hurt you. I don't know her, to know why that could be. But this isn't on you. Okay?" Rhett hugs her tighter. "She needs to sort herself out, and it's not okay to attack you while she does it."

"I know she needs to sort herself out. It doesn't change that it still hurts. All I wanted, really, was to make sure she was okay… which I guess I did. I just want to…" Elaine sounds frustrated. "I wanted to fix things and move forward. I wanted to have a conversation and tell her I was okay and happy."

There really wasn't much room for that talk the way things went.

"I know. It sounds like she's not ready to talk," Rhett says, uncertainly. He then relaxes a little bit, and just holds her. She may not want him to offer suggestions, but to listen: and he can do that, be there for her. He kisses her hair, and just continues to stroke her shoulder and back with his hand.

She might wish that there was more she could do, but at this point in time there’s really nothing that can be done on this front. Elaine lets out a slow breath, squeezing him tightly. “I don’t think she’s ready for anything. I’m just not so great when there’s nothing I can act upon. I like to solve things, not sit and wait for a better time.” She looks to him, smiling faintly. “You are honestly the best thing in my life, you know that, right?”

"Can't say I'm upset about it," Rhett says, smiling back at her as she compliments him. His blush, if there is one, is very mild. "I like hearing about how mutual our feelings are." Rhett moves his hand from her shoulder to the side of her face, hooking some of her hair back behind her ear. His smile is still concerned, he's worried for her mood. He wants her to be happier, knows sadness is sometimes necessary to heal.

"Is there anything I can do to help?" Rhett inquires.

“You’re already doing the most I could ask of you,” Elaine replies, placing one of her hands over the top of his. “I know that eventually I’ll get past all of this and that it’s rough in the meanwhile, but what is most important to me is that I have you through all of this. I am absolutely certain I couldn’t get through this alone. I need you with me.”

Her hand squeezes his briefly before she returns her hand to her side. “I hope if you ever go through anything like this, that I can help you as well, in some way.”

"That's what we're doing, though, with this," Rhett reminds her with a curious lift of eyebrows. "We're sticking together, so neither of us has to get through anything alone anymore." Rhett swallows thickly, but then caresses her cheek next to her hair, fingers light against the red strands, passing his fingertips along the edge of her face.

He pauses. "Right?" he asks, pausing in his touch of fingers, and searching her eyes with his light blue ones.

“Of course,” Elaine murmurs, looking back at him with a smile. “I just want to be able to help you as much as you’re helping me. I don’t want you to ever feel like I’m taking too much and not doing enough for you.” She kisses his cheek lightly. “You are everything and I will do my utmost to make sure you know that.”

She smiles softly. “My everything.”

"Right now, I'm just fine, other than that I'm worried for you, Elaine," Rhett tells her, chuckling softly as she leans in for a kiss. He lifts his head to kiss her in return, his hand moving to rest in her hair, less on her face.

"Come here," Rhett says with a quick little smile, and sits up just a bit to wrap arms around her and draw her into a bear-hug: complete with a tickle to her side with one hand, and a deep laugh from his chest.

Elaine laughs, engulfing herself in his arms, nuzzling in against his shoulder, even a bit close to his neck. She’s still being cautious, even if she’s bolder with things. “I’m worried for me too,” she admits softly. “But I’ll be alright, I just have to let it hurt for a little while. Time heals wounds, they say. Time and handsome partners with strong arms and great smiles.”

Even if she’s hurting, which she most certainly is, she’s fighting hard against that, leaning in to the good things she has.

"Tell me where to kiss, and I'll make it better," Rhett says, playful. He's cautious about it: trying to cheer her, but only so far as her mood wants to be cheered. If she needs to cry or hurt, he'll support that, too. Rhett leans up and tries to kiss each of her cheeks, where he can presume tears may have been, and cups her head, helping her rest against his shoulder next to his neck.

"Just don't forget you're loved," Rhett says with a tightness to his voice.

“You’re an absolute treasure, you know that?” Elaine murmurs, her arms tightening around him. “I thought it wouldn’t hurt so bad, all things considered, but I think I’ve just been mourning the friendship for longer than anything.” She pulls back enough to kiss him. This one starts as just a soft, simple kiss, but it develops into a longer one before she slowly pulls back. “It’s just letting go of a lot of things at once.”

"It's going to hurt," Rhett says, gently, kindness in his tone. "Because you have a big heart. You care very deeply. So it will hurt deeply," Rhett watches her as she pulls back from the kiss. "Just let go slowly. Time will heal it. You'll be okay. And I'm right with you," he offers, drawing her hand towards his chest, and folding his palm over it. "Promise."

Elaine keeps her hand there, unwilling to move it for the time being. “I’m really going to have to be careful with the whole caring so much thing,” she laughs a little. “It’s really going to bite me in the ass the way things go.” It hasn’t been so bad before, this is just the most she’s had and lost all at once. “Thank you. For understanding. I suppose you knew this particular situation was complicated coming in, though.”

She smiles wryly. “Didn’t complicate this though.”

"Maybe I just know you're worth it," Rhett teases her, pulling her fingers towards his mouth to kiss her knuckles, and then her middle fingers, then the fingertips of a few fingers, before he gently releases her hand in the vicinity of his chin.

"And I have my own complications that you're accepting. Fair is fair," Rhett assures her, watching her expression: her laughs, her wry smiles. He's examining her, but only in a way that is enjoying her being happier.

She smiles slowly, her fingers brushing across his chin as her hand slowly retreats. “You make it sound as if you’re trouble in any sort of way,” Elaine studies him carefully, the smile still present. “I’m just grateful I found you when I did. Even if the timing seemed odd, everything has just fallen into place nicely. I’m glad we’re where we’re at, together.”

She presses a kiss to his jaw. “I can’t promise things will always be easy, they certainly aren’t for me right now, but I can promise not to shut you out and I can promise to deal with things as they come with you there with me.”

"No, not easy. I'm sorry I can't make it easier. But I think you'll be all right," Rhett assures her, relaxing the bearhug hold he'd put around her from his playful snuggle. "And I'm right here, for all your kissing needs," Rhett says. His tone isn't so much playful as it is warm; he's not really being a flirt at present.

"I'm glad to be found, too. Being lost is hardly good. Much rather this," Rhett chuckles, soft, watching her, quietly. From behind his head, Inger makes a reappearance on the couch arm, jumping up, and making a little purr sound.

“I think I’ll be alright too,” Elaine agrees, letting her own grip around him loosen. “I feel spoiled by all of this.” She leans in close, pressing her cheek to his as she reaches up… so that she can pet Inger. Him being close is an unexpected delight in the whole situation. She pets the cat for a moment or two before her attention returns to Rhett.

She smiles slyly at him, clearly amused by her cat distraction ploy. “You said something about kissing needs?”

"Yes, I may have said something about kissing needs," Rhett smoothly replies, with a slight narrowing of his eyes, a show of play in response to her sly expression. "Perhaps other needs, if you're convincing." His smile grows, not at all, it seems, falling for the cat distraction.

But then he cheats, and runs fingers up her side ticklishly, with an expression of 'how about THAT' in his amused eyes.

Elaine thought her cat maneuver was clever, but his slight tickle prompts a sort of yelp-laugh, and she, entirely unintentionally, abruptly clings to him. It’s a reflex, although the fact that she got closer instead of trying to get away could certainly be an amusing one. She gives him a look, one of those ‘don’t you dare try it again’ glares as she releases him from her sudden grip.

“How can I be convincing of anything with all these distractions?!”

Rhett laughs, an even, relaxed, and deep sound. It comes from his lower chest, one of his more true and honest sounds. He has powerful lungs, and when he uses them fully, it can be an interesting, low vibration. "You're magical; you'll manage," Rhett assures her.

He lifts his head to kiss her gently. "I'll be your best friend. When, or if, you're ready," Rhett says. It is a quiet offer, a hope to heal, not intrude.

"Magical, huh? I guess I'll have to be sure to use my powers for good." Elaine smiles broadly. She likes the sound of his laugh. When he makes the offer, she looks surprised for a moment. It's not intrusive, not really. It just comes as a gentle touch in a tender place. Her hands go to rest on his cheeks, thumbs stroking the skin as she looks at him.

"I'd like that, very much. Very, very much." She's not choked up, not yet at least, but the sentiment is certainly rolling in that direction.

Rhett watches her, his face framed in her hands as she settles his hands at his cheeks. His jaw flexed just a little, a feeling of him clenching his teeth just briefly, but it's actually something he does a lot, this pressure of his lip line, that she may finally resolve a reason for. He does it to sort of moderate his expression, part of his tendency to look so reserved. In this case, it's to keep any mirror of her choked up emotion from his face, keeping this focused on her.

"Yeah?" Rhett asks softly, a quiet prompt for her to say more.

Her eyes stay on him, searching for something in his own eyes. Her thumbs keep their soft caress going, hands remaining where they've settled. Elaine's expression is mostly serious, though there's still warmth behind her eyes. "Yes, I'd really like that." There's a pause. She's got more.

"You have to promise to watch dumb movies with me and let me throw popcorn at you. And you have to promise to sometimes go out with me at three in the morning to see if we can see stars. You have to promise to look at an outfit I put on and tell me if I look good or if I should change. And, most importantly, you have to listen to me ramble about dumb things and pretend to be interested so I don't feel self conscious about speaking my mind."

It's a list that drifts over into relationship territory as well, but it works as a nice blending of the two. "Are the terms okay?"

"Hmmmm," Rhett says, considering. "You have to feed me popcorn during movies. You have to invite me to see the stars. You have to believe me when I tell you you look beautiful in a new outfit. And you have to always talk to me about anything in your heart," Rhett answers. He smiles against her hands, his expression confident, but in a subtle, quiet way that is very Rhett. His strength is understated, but very much there under the surface.

Elaine leans in slowly, resting her forehead against his, nose to nose. She remains there, looking back over at him. “I can do that,” she murmurs. “I just want to be silly and have fun and have you there with me being just as silly and having just as much fun. I want to share the world with you in whatever way I can. You’ve already pretty much filled the role ever since you walked into the apartment for the first time.” She smiles back at him. “So I hereby decree you can have the role of best friend with all of the responsibilities and privileges associated with the station. That is, naturally, on top of your other title of incredibly amazing partner.”

She grins. “That one gets more privileges.”

Rhett laughs deeply again, and leans up to kiss her nose that she's brushing to his. His eyes linger on hers, a pleased smile there; he's entirely positive, a warmth that's easy and accepting. "Silly and fun; is that so…" Rhett considers his next move, a quiet playful quality coming to his lips as he moves them in a slow little half-smile.

More tickles come up her sides, just to mess with her a little bit, but also aimed to open to tease the sides of her jacket open, leading his hands up to help her out of it, intending to increase her comfort…. Or perhaps to play with her, there's a sleek little lift of eyebrow at 'undressing' her.

Elaine laughs, not at all noticing his efforts to get her out of her jacket until his hands have already moved. She doesn’t reflexively cling to him this time, instead shrugging off the garment. She hadn’t really bothered with her jacket, only really having removed her shoes when she came in the door. She doesn’t bother setting it comfortably aside, she just lets it slip carelessly to the floor before she deposits each of her arms over his shoulders.

She opens her mouth to speak, but instead opts not to. Instead, she just watches him with a smile. While there are no words, it’s pretty clear by the way she’s looking at him that she’s simply admiring him and taking in just what they have there. While she’s not choked up, she certainly looks moved.

Rhett was being mildly playful, as she'd asked for some silly, but he slows as she watches him, and he lays back for a time, lowering his hands from her sides to her hips instead, resting his palms there comfortably. Just having her close, her arms loose at his shoulders (and neck), is a presence he's now become familiar with, that he finds soothing.

"I didn't know that I was missing this, so… much… in my life, until seeing what it's like to have it," Rhett says quietly, turning his head to kiss her wrist near his shoulder, eyes moving there, then back to meet her gaze again.

While she had asked for silly, it was more of the feelings mixed in with the humor and the smiles. His offer to be a best friend on top of everything else meant something and Elaine finds it hard to pass it by without acknowledging just how meaningful it is to her. Her arms stay where they are, loose and gentle, holding him but not crushing or clinging to him. It’s comfortable, she’s at ease.

“Me too,” she murmurs, an echo to mean just that she feels the same way about things, but she doesn’t want to get caught up in her own answer, she’s more interested in what he’s saying. “I talk a lot about how I feel, about my hopes and wishes and how much this means to me, how important these things are, but I don’t feel like I ask you enough. Sometimes I can look into your eyes and know how you feel and I love that I can see that when I look at you, but sometimes words are important too. Sometimes you just need to say things, to put them out in the world.”

Her hand reaches up to briefly trace her nails along his scalp before resuming its spot on his shoulder. “I like hearing how you feel.”

Rhett considers all of that. He's quite clearly listening; there's an attentive quality, and a smile in his light blue eyes when she mentions looking into them to see how he feels. He just thinks over how to phrase more of what he had started to say.

"I think," Rhett begins, slowly. It isn't hesitation: more a sense that he's trying to understand it himself, to be able to say it. "That I really shut down, for a long time," he says, with a slow breath. "It made sense to build walls and kind of keep everyone at arm's length." He closes his eyes, just resting there, which gives her some time to take him in without him staring back at her. His expression is slightly troubled, but not upset or sad.

"But I don't want to be by myself."

“I don’t think people ever want to be, not really.” Elaine’s hand returns to running through his hair when his eyes shut, continuing the soothing gesture for a while there. “I’m not sure that people are built for that. I think people want to connect, even if it is just in different ways. Keeping people away and putting up walls can keep us safe, for a while, but it’s hard not to want to reach out and touch. Easy to be scared, but also easy to desire that connection.”

Her fingers trace lightly. “We both didn’t want to be by ourselves, we just had very different circumstances. But you aren’t alone now. I won’t let you ever be, and I’m a fighter, a survivor. You’re stuck with me now.”

"I just mean… I felt like I was all right with it. All right on my own. That I was making it work, that my life wasn't so bad. I had money, freedom, enough safety. Friends. I dated a little bit here and there. I didn't have a home, but maybe I didn't really need one," Rhett explains. He sighs quietly as she touches and traces into his short dark blonde hair. Her fingers ruffle it slightly, making a comfortable mess in the mixed pale strands. He seems to physically release tension as she attends to gently touching, fully allowing her to coax that response.

"Some kind of denial, I guess," Rhett says finally. He opens his eyes to look at her. It's a softened look, eyes partially lidded. "But I'm staying where we are now. I'm keeping you."

“Consider me kept,” Elaine murmurs, looking back over at him. “And consider yourself home.” Her fingers continue to trace through his hair, the movement gentle and slow. She’s very aware of how it seems to relax him, which is why she continues to do it, even while she speaks. Especially while she speaks. Her other hand gives his shoulder a gentle squeeze, a fingertip brushing gently over the skin of his neck. It doesn’t trace scars, it’s just there to touch skin, to make her presence known.

“I’m happy.”

Rhett nods just a little bit when she tells him what things to consider himself being. That he's keeping her. That he's home. It draws a blush to the surface, a heat to his cheeks and a little bit to the ears, only visible at this close proximity.

Rhett doesn't shy at the stroke of finger. She's relaxed him a great amount, and there's a trust there. She won't harm him; he believes that. The fingertip didn't cause a shift in his position, he just openly accepted it.

"I'm in love," he replies, and the flush gets heavier. Phrasing it that particular way seems to have generated a blush; it felt different than saying he loved her, somehow.

It did feel different. The words were one thing, but the combination of his words and him actually blushing are enough to set her heart racing. Elaine reaches one hand down to take one of his, lifting it up and gently placing it on her chest. Her heart. It's there not as a symbolic gesture, it's so he can feel her heart beating quickly.

"This is what you do to me. Even if you give me the same look you've given me every time you've seen me, it can hit me full force. Words tend to be very good for that. Some more than others. But you do it. And the faster it beats, the more in love with you I fall."

"Only because you decided to let me in," Rhett answers quietly, with a warmth and appreciation for that: her willingness to allow their love to grow. "And hold me close." Rhett rests his palm on her chest above her heart, fingers loose in the fabric of her shirt, and steadily watches her eyes. He's still flushed, but it's faded down a little bit as he feels her heartbeat.

“It was an easy choice to let you in,” she replies with a soft smile. “How could I not?” Elaine’s hand rests over the top of his, letting him feel her heartbeat on one side of his hand and her soft hand on the other. While his blush might be fading a bit, her heartbeat is still fast as she looks at him. “You are really cute when you blush, did you know that? I don’t think I’ve made you blush enough because I certainly will never get tired of looking at that.”

"It isn't something I think I can do on purpose," Rhett laughs softly, a little embarrassed. "I suspect over time you'll learn the combination to my blush-safe, but don't use that information for evil, okay?"

Rhett is, though, flushed from being told he's cute, and slips his hand up from her chest to hook it behind her head at her nape, to try to draw her down to lay on his chest, to where he can easily lift his head and kiss her on the lips, head tilted just a little.

“That secret will be safe with me and I will guard it with my very life, Rhett,” Elaine solemnly promises, though her words are soon lost in a sea of distraction as she’s drawn down against him. Her heart starts to return to a normal pace, at least for a moment. It speeds up again once she’s kissed, though now she removes her hand from his so he can move his hand freely if he wishes.

Her own hand moves up to trace through his hair, her default position when she’s looking for somewhere on him to let her hand play.

"I don't let just anyone in you know, so I appreciate your discretion," Rhett says after the kiss parts a little, but he doesn't really want to keep talking: he wants to kiss her, and he does, with an increased passion and growing desire. The love is feeding into the physical attraction side of it, and he's not keeping that in check: so the kiss is deep and leading.

Maybe Elaine thought she would speak more, but as time progresses she becomes well aware that talking isn’t what they’re doing. Though she had been kissing him before, it becomes very apparent when she switches from thinking about what she wants to say later to what she’s doing in the moment. Everything softens, like she can suddenly relax, and her other arm slides around him.

With him not making any motion to stop, she lets the kissing continue on, their talk of love doing plenty to kindle the desire for this sort of connection.

Rhett focuses on her fully, one hand still burrowed in the hair at the back of her head and neck, loosely stealing the clip and putting it aside to let her hair down loose, and then plays with it, rubbing his hand into her long soft hair. The kiss continues for a time, inclusive of a tease of tongue and turn of head to offer a deeper, full kiss: one that lacks a lot of the tentative caution they've been so plagued with. This one is sure, and growing more comfortable each day of their mutual desire and love. When it parts, it's mostly to let her breathe, and a soft rub of nose to hers.

"I was going to surprise you by starting dinner before you got home, but here you are early," Rhett 'laments', though he sounds the opposite of upset. He's very happy she's there, and doesn't mind that his thoughtful little idea didn't happen this once.

"Are you hungry for that, or something else to start with?" Rhett asks, pleased with himself, a tease to his smile, for setting up that little flirtation. He also kisses her again, similarly leading as before, suggestive of the clear desire there.

There’s a bit of a laugh from Elaine as she catches her breath after the kiss. “I love that you were going to make me dinner, that’s so thoughtful,” she says, honestly touched as to his plan to get things started without her. It’s a nice gesture. She doesn’t, however, dwell on the food. “You know, we’ve got plenty of time before you even need to think of starting dinner…” She grins, looking back at him. “It kind of sounds like you’re planning on some kind of appetizer now.”

When he kisses her again, the kiss is returned, full-force, with a very clear intention made that she was very much not talking about food. She seems to be in no rush, however, no real escalation made in her efforts, just strong and present. She just seems to be enjoying the allure of the kiss itself.

"MMmhmmmm," Rhett says, but it's into the kiss, and he doesn't make any move to end the kiss in order to speak more clearly or explain. There isn't really one necessary, as their communication is not about food, anyway, now. She did pick up on him having a plan - it was more than appetizers, it was also about her mood, the sadness and worry she walked in with: and if he can help her feel better, he's going to do it. No question about that.

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