He's watching me.
He's always watching me.
At first, it was hard, knowing that someone's eyes were on my every move, but after awhile, I came to realize it was what partners did. I'd been alone for so long, I'd forgotten that important aspect. They watched out for each other and, likewise, I started watching out for him.
It didn't take long for me to also come to the conclusion that he liked it; my partner, he enjoys an audience, being the focus of attention. He sparkles and blooms beneath it. It gives him fire and freedom, which is a contradiction in a way, and he would argue the point if you mentioned it to him.
So, even while I'm dancing with this very safe woman, in a very safe restaurant, in a very safe hotel, he watches me. I guide the woman- I confess her name escapes me- easily. She's either taken lessons or had considerable experience as she is responsive to my lightest touch to her back. I shift and turn and dip and spin; and yet I can feel him watching me, I can feel his eyes caressing me and I shiver at the thought.
I've always been tactile, even as a child. Experts say that in adult life, you seek what you didn't experience as a child and yet I was well loved. I was the first born male and thusly treated with great affection by both my parents. They loved me and I loved them back. Even though my dad was considered uncaring by many, I knew he loved and respected me, both as a child and as a man. It was frequently his steady hand on my back that gave the youthful version of me confidence and strength. Later, it showed me compassion and patient understanding. Dad's touch gave me so much and I tried to return the favor with friends, family and my co-workers.
My partner isn't a big man physically, but he has enormous presence. He will stand quietly until you forget he's there, luring you into a sense of blissful ignorance. Cold as ice, hard as a rock, uncaring as a wall or a tree or a stone—I believed those stories, until the first time I touched him. It had been a shock to feel that warm flesh beneath my fingers. I could feel the muscle, honed and corded, ripple beneath my fingers. That was when I knew his secret; it was all mirrors and smoke. My partner was as human as I was; he was just as vulnerable, just as caring and just as lonely. After that, I made many more excuses to touch him. Never once did he complain.
Then one night, everything changed, and nothing changed. We'd raced from the building, hell on our heels as the factory exploded and collapsed around us. We'd half climbed, half run up an embankment and towards the woods when a blast knocked us off our feet. When I got my eyes open, I was lying on top of him, panting, as adrenaline practically oozed from my body. Without thinking or even considering the consequences, I leaned down and planted a kiss on slightly parted lips. A little puff of air, surprise and... there was something more—passion, need, acceptance? I couldn't tell and I didn't care.
I let the tip of my tongue slip in between Illya's lips and suddenly his hands were in my hair, keeping my head from drawing back, not that I had any intention of stopping. I got a knee up between his legs and found him as hard and as ready as I was; it had been years since a woman had had that effect upon me and now, just a few seconds and I was ready to go off like a proverbial Roman candle.
I probably would have taken him right then and there, except the air was suddenly cut by the heavy whoop, whoop, whoop of a helicopter and we were both on our feet and running again.
Back at the hotel that night, I stayed away, hanging out in the bar until I was certain he was asleep. It wasn't that I was ashamed of what I'd done, but now that the excitement of the moment had passed, I just wasn't sure he'd appreciate a reminder. It would be hard enough in the morning.
I slipped quietly into the room, moving quickly to the bathroom and stripping down to my underwear. My pajamas were in the suitcase and I wasn't going to risk waking Illya up for them. My tee shirt and shorts would have to suffice. I snapped off the bathroom light and made my way to the bed, delighted that I didn't kick anything in the process.
I slipped into the narrow twin bed, happy that, for once, we'd managed to swing a double room. UNCLE's budget cuts were just this side of sweeping and to get two beds was almost a luxury these days.
"Are you ashamed of what you did?" In the darkness, I could only hear the voice, not see the face that accompanied it. "Is that why you stayed away?"
"No." And it was the truth. I'd been with men before, for the good of the organization, for my own personal needs, or just because a man happened to be handy. Mentally, I kicked myself for thinking I could fool my Russian partner. He always did see me more clearly than anyone else.
"I... ah... didn't want to force the issue. What we did was because of the moment; I wasn't sure how you'd feel when cooler heads prevailed."
I could see a shape, as familiar as my own, moving in the darkness and a moment later felt his lips on mine. He continued to kiss me as he stretched out alongside me, his hands skimming over me. He kissed me until I thought I would pass out from sheer neuron overload.
"Does this tell you how I feel? Not that my head is any cooler now, mind you."
Cool was not anything either of us had to concern ourselves with after that. We trashed my bed, leaving the rumpled and semen-stained sheets to sleep in his. Then when we woke, we made short work of his bed as well.
That was a lifetime ago; that was seconds ago. It's impossible to know which. So I dance with this woman, feeling his gaze upon me, his eyes studying and memorizing each of my movements. I feel safe and secure, just as I did growing up. I can fly and soar above an uncaring world because I know, no matter what, he's watching me.