It was a cloudy day.
Ray had just made detective, and it was his half day, still early. If it had been sunnier, maybe he could have talked Stella into dinner at the marina.
But it was cloudy.
Clouds, so heavy he could feel them, like hands on his shoulders. A hot breeze messed with his hair, and he squinted at the sky. Rain was coming, he could feel that, too. It gave him a headache, just a little one, like somebody pressing a thumb hard between his eyebrows.
It made him want to push. Days like this turned him on. Thrummed all over his body like the thunder would, when the storm broke.
He got home and found Stella curled up on the couch with her files.
She looked like somebody's expensive cat. Not like anything Ray would have had any money to spend for.
Saturday afternoon, and Stella was dressed for the office. Pearl gray silk blouse. Gray wraparound skirt, with a sneaky, sexy slit up the side. And her pearls. Her father had given them to her for graduating from law school.
All gray... his own cloudy day. She never wore bright colors anymore. No hot pink tank tops, no electric blue teddies. All her stuff was pale, or muted. And pricey.
It was like she didn't *have* any comfortable clothes, no slouchy socks, no cozy pj's. Sometimes, though, when she had a cold, she'd swipe Ray's sweats, or snag a white cotton tee.
He closed the door behind him, and Stella was careful not to look up at him.
"I have work to do, Ray," she said, sounding all no-nonsense. He knew she was concentrating, trying to get things done, put the bad guys away.
But Ray could feel the rain coming, pitter patter, let's get at her, that's what the rain said.
And even though she was frowning, Ray knew Stella wanted him to talk her into it.
* * *
Sometimes she hated herself for loving him. He was not what she wanted to want. And that continually irritated her.
He was messy and uncontained. Impatient, brash, too open. You didn't have to know him well to read him like a book.
She didn't have to look at him to know he was in one of his rare moods, that he was too happy to let any refusal bother him.
He wasn't going to take no for an answer.
She'd give in.
It was happening less and less. It seemed, after 10 years, that she was finally developing a resistance to Ray's charms.
She supposed her cool, strangely practical affair with Chris Randall at the office was helping.
Soon she'd be able to say no, no matter what mood Ray was in.
But not today.
It was a cloudy day. Just the right kind. The kind that made Ray alert, but not jittery.
The kind that promised sweet, messy, just-right sex, like none of her passionless affairs could bring her.
"Stella." He was so goddamned... happy. He loved his job. He loved her.
They couldn't go on like this.
"Ray..." she gave him her best warning tone.
"Play a little hooky. Be a bad girly. You know you wanna. Dance with me."
He hit the remote and that song started playing, low and sweet and deep, like the hard rain against the windows on a cool night, with Ray moving against her like the sea.
He always held her so close. She was amazed sometimes that they could move at all when they danced. He had that lazy, sexy low-lidded look that said they'd fuck for hours. ‘Til he'd made her scream. That she'd come for him like she'd never come for anyone else.
Stella hated him for moment, just a little.
She kissed him back when he kissed her, angry with herself for laughing when he dipped her, when he licked the tip of her nose, for enjoying this, for continuing to love him, years after she'd realized she couldn't stay with him.
He spun her, drew her back, kissed her again, wet, strong, mouthy kisses... He kissed energetically, from all angles, with flair. With a sweetness and a passion she would always admire in him. With a fire that she would always respond to, no matter when she finally divorced him.
He let her go so he could watch her spin, and he gathered her up again, wrapping his arms around her from behind. Plastered against her back, he walked her toward the arm chair.
"Stella, stella, stella, " he chanted, and Ray began rubbing his face in her hair, tightening his hands on her hips.
He tugged on her hair with her teeth, licked it, pushed it aside so he could kiss the back of her neck and chafe it with his stubbled cheek, clicking his teeth against her pearls.
A practiced hand slipped past the split in her skirt, and he grazed his fingertips, and then his nails, lightly, against her skin... ghosting up her hip, down her leg, touching the back of her knee with his callused forefinger.
She was ready when he curled his long fingers around the curve of her thigh and worked them under the scrap of cotton between her legs.
"Wet. So wet for me, Stella." She shuddered against him, her breath catching, and he nudged her so her arms were braced against the armrest, her hips nearly level with the back. His hands roved now, tugging at her buttons, and he hunched to mouth a wet spot on her shirt between her shoulderblades, and nip at the narrow band of her bra.
She shrugged out of her blouse and he hiked up her skirt and then pressed his two fingers against her while trying to lower her panties.
"Ray, god damn it, " she muttered. She got impatient-- he knew she liked to come first, fast, and then let him fuck her until she could build up to orgasm number two.
They had that in common; they both liked that.
"Stella. Love you. Love you. You're my sunshine girl." And he set his teeth against the back of her neck, past the curtain of her hair, and she groaned and flexed against his fingers.
And he had to pause, he was always shaking with it, fumbling one handed with his own pants, and he pressed into her, she was so slick and sweet and she made a little guttural crying sound, and he pushed home.
The only times he saw her cry was when they fucked like this, when she was so open.
She had to let go, and she was always cold to him after. After they'd had a messy, vocal, out-of-this world fuck. He knew she resented him for making her let go...
But he couldn't help it. He couldn't wait to have her this way again, he'd do everything he could think of to get her to lose her cool, have her soft and rocking and murmuring his name, even if she cried. Even then, and he didn't want to think about it, he just wanted to *feel*, to know that he had her, now, *now*, and if it wasn't proof he always *would* have her, well fuck that, fuck it, he had her now, and he would never let her go.
He felt her hand clutch his forearm, felt her tense and shudder and knew she'd come again for him, and the watery half light of an afternoon that was turning to rain made everything soft and hazy, and he kissed her cheek and felt his climax kick him in the head, a beanbag to the back of his skull, that dripped down his spine and climbed up his thighs to go supernova behind his balls and race out of him like white lightning.
‘Cept it hadn't rained yet. No thunder, either. Only heavy clouds, piling up like the layers of a bad lasagna, and no lightning at all.
But there would be.
"Storm's coming," he muttered, not really sure why, and Stella wiped her eyes and straightened her back, pushing him back and turning to face him in the loose circle of his now wet-spaghetti afterglow arms.
"I know, Ray."
And she snaked her beautiful golden arms around his neck and held him close, staring at him for a long time before she tipped her head to kiss him.