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to sleep, not alone, your skin against mine

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Maggie stretches and looks at the clock.  She frowns and rubs her eyes: surely it can’t be seven already?  But when she glances back the hands are still, stubbornly, there.  She studies her scrawled to-do list, vainly hunting for something to cross off.

‘Bugger,’ she exclaims to the empty office, and takes a puff of her e-cig.

Olly’s away, a well-deserved holiday after all the hard work he’s put in in the months since the trial.  He’s coming on well, she has to admit.  In fact, she realises, she’s come to depend on him.  It’s been a slow week but there’s still been plenty for her to manage on her own.  Now it looks like she’s going to have to pull an all-nighter to get this week’s edition finished.

‘I’m sorry, petal,’ she says when Jocelyn picks up the phone.  ‘I don’t know when I’m going to be done.  I’ll sleep at mine tonight so I don’t disturb you.’

‘Don’t.  I’d like you to come over.’

‘What, can’t sleep without me already?’ she teases.

‘I’d rather not,’ she says softly.  ‘Please, Maggie?’

The usual ready retort dies in Maggie’s throat, quashed by a swell of tenderness.  ‘Okay,’ she says quietly.

‘Would you like me to bring some dinner over for you?’

‘Will wonders never cease?’ Maggie laughs.  ‘No, that’s alright.  I’ll pop out and get something.’

‘I’ll see you later, then.  Love you.’

‘Love you too, petal.’

*          *          *

Finally – finally – Maggie is finished.  She shuts down her computer, pulls on her jacket and locks up.  The days are getting warmer now but the nights still have a chill, and she walks briskly along the front and up the cliff, the light in Jocelyn’s porch guiding her steps.

She pads upstairs and into the dark bedroom as quietly as she can, drops her clothes in a heap and feels blindly for her pyjamas.  They aren’t there.  For a moment she considers finding another set, but that would mean rummaging in the chest of drawers and right now she just wants to sleep.  She slips between the sheets; her side of the bed is cool.

‘Hello,’ Jocelyn murmurs, voice thick with sleep.


‘Time’s it?’

‘Gone midnight.’

‘Hmm.’  She shifts closer, and Maggie feels smooth skin instead of soft cotton.

‘Did you hide my pyjamas?’

‘I’m offended you could even think such a thing.’

‘Oh really?  You just happened to misplace them, I suppose?  And yours too?’

Maggie brushes a kiss to her bare shoulder and smiles when Jocelyn sighs softly.

‘Fine, fine,’ she relents.  ‘I like the feel of your skin against mine.’

Maggie presses closer, snakes an arm around her and finds her hand, twining their fingers.  ‘So do I,’ she murmurs, nuzzling into the warm crook of Jocelyn’s neck and breathing in her scent.