My arm lingers on her waist, we’re draped in leather, in lace. With a crystal glass raised to her plump rosebud lips, she smiles, milk and honey, sticky and sweet. This evening she’s soft, smelling of glamour and dusk, of violets and fire and fortune and wine, of quaking hands on a graceful thigh. I inhale. She laughs. I breathe it in. I sigh, I ache, I thirst, I pine. I watch smoke unfurl too slowly, I feel her hand on my knee in my stomach, somehow. Distant jazz plays and it calls her name, I hear it through the tinkling glasses, the murmur of voices, the discreet touching of hands. Her breath on my ear is silk, is velvet, and I watch the moon rise behind my eyelids, huge and silver and shining. The stars gleam in her eyes, pearls of love gathered in the corners as they watch me, too fierce, too knowing, too full of everything I need. Goosebumps on my skin, a red flush in my cheeks, I long to be the diamonds that glitter around her throat, caressing her delicate skin, reaching for her honeyed mouth, her luscious lips. She holds her chin high.

And I always found beauty in shallow things: flowers, jewelery, the sun setting on a warm evening… But since I have known the touch of her hand, her syrupy laugh, her confident air, it all seems insignificant, so ostentatiously hollow. Outside is too loud, filled with the unnecessary commotion of life, all blinding lights and angry smoke and metallic grinding. Too much distraction. The autumn leaves fall around us, dull and brown and lifeless. It is so hard to notice them when I’m holding summer’s hand, clinging to her glorious sunshine, her unyielding passion, her assailing loveliness.

And I know that she is the sun: ablaze and brilliant, the most dazzling of all that ever was in this universe. Her embrace, tender though it is, will set my skin on fire, will make molten gold of my insides and keep spreading until my whole world is engulfed in flames, gorgeous to behold in splendid yellows and oranges until I am consumed.

We climb into the backseat of the car and this is it, I think, this is where my world will end.

Her lips are too close now as we sink into the ebony night. All is dark until the fateful moment arrives and, with the energy of a match being struck, we collide, we spark, and the flames begin.

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