"Are you going to take your clothes off?"
He folded his arms over the bulk of his chest, let them hang awkwardly at his side, folded them again. She had set him on edge and she was sorry for it, but also, somehow, relieved.
"Not with the light on."
"Really?" he nodded, "I did it with the light on."
There was a clatter, something falling in the flat upstairs. His mother lived up there. His mother who was barely older than she was herself. She had met his mother. His mother knew about Bec's husband. She knew Bec worked at the university where her son was enrolled. Bec turned her back towards him and settled onto the bed that smelled of old dog and boy sweat. Three upturned empty beer stubbies lazed on the ground near her toes. A pile of magazines and books about photographers that she adored were scattered amongst them. Novels that she had read and loved fell in an untidy heap.
She no longer wanted to sleep with him. She wanted to go home to her safe life and her safe husband and her darkroom with its familiar chinks of light that she was forever battling. A boat that did not need rocking.
He turned the bedside light off. He touched her back, the small of it, where the edge of her underpants cut into the flesh. She turned to him nd even in the dark she could see that his body was as imperfect as her own. Stretchmarks, sagging, extra weight carried in all the wrong places. His underpants were old and had too much give in the elastic. She felt tender towards him. There was something sweet about his nervous interface with the world.
He kissed her on the mouth and he could certainly kiss. That was one thing about him. His mouth, so gentle, nothing urgent about it. No tongue, just a soft pressure of his lips against hers and she felt her desire rise up in her and spill over and when he touched her knickers they were wet.
"Here." she took his fingers and slipped them inside the crotch of her pants.
"You are so wet." he said kissing her again.
"I am never wet," she told him and maybe he believed her, it was hard to tell. They knew so little about each other. She lay, then, on his dog-scented pillow and slipped off her bra and then her pants and she was naked. He struggled out of his own, tripping slightly, graceless. And even in this light she could see that the overhang of his belly hid a tiny, frightened looking penis tucked up inside a foreskin that seemed too large for it, as if it were a small child wearing his father's overcoat.