Rex peeled his sweat-soaked T-shirt off, dropped it onto the carpet, loosened his belt, and pulled a clean pair of jeans from the open suitcase perched on the foot of the bed. He dragged himself to the shower, ready to put yet another energetic and exhausting performance behind him, and made only a weak effort to close the bathroom door.
Lilah settled down on the other bed, switched the lamp off, and turned the TV on. The local news aired footage from earlier – mobs of Rex’s fans awaiting admittance to the concert. She tried to focus on the segment but she could see him undressing through the crack in the door and it was hard not to watch.
The U.S. leg of the tour was coming to a close soon but Rex had a week off before the three final shows. After that, he would head straight to Europe for a three-month series of indistinguishable venues, hotels, cities and fans that all blended in together. He never remembered where he was at any given moment.
Rex emerged from the bathroom in a cloud of steam, half-dressed. Lilah watched as he towel-dried his hair roughly into a cute disarray. He seemed oblivious to the water dripping down his chest, catching on curly hairs. The sight of droplets beading down and glistening on his skin, absorbing into the waistline of his jeans as he walked toward her, made Lilah breathe a little faster. He tossed the towel to nowhere in particular and crashed onto the mattress so hard he almost bounced Lilah right off the other side.
He landed flat on his back beside her with a heavy sigh, clasped his hands under his head, closed his eyes, and played “dead”.
Alone time – time – was finally theirs.
Lilah scooched over closer to Rex and molded herself comfortably into his form. Rubbing her cheek against his damp chest, she inhaled deeply and savored the clean scent of his skin. She imagined the soap he used was probably supposed to make a man feel like he had just showered in a waterfall on a mountaintop somewhere in Ireland. Probably in the middle of a thunderstorm, too, while scrubbing with a piece of pine bark saturated with chain oil. But he smelled heavenly.
Lilah drew an invisible heart on his chest with her fingertip and lightly carved “LM + RS” inside it with her nail. Rex squirmed. She sealed the heart with a kiss. A shit-eating grin spread across his face. She began to wander with her fingers, along his ribcage and down the neat little path of wiry hairs leading to The Great Unknown-as-of-yet.
Rex gasped and exhaled with a moan. Lilah continued to trace patterns on his skin. She pressed her ear against his chest again and became mesmerized by the quickening tempo of his heartbeat and the steady rhythm of air rushing through his lungs with each breath.
Lilah snapped out of her musical trance as Rex rolled her onto her back and propped himself over her in one fluid motion. The TV was still on. A late night show featured some no-talent, lip-synching so-called musical guest who was leagues below Rex in the talent pool. No one could compare to him in Lilah’s eyes, as a musician or as a man.
Between the flicker of the TV and the slivers of moonlight that filtered through the blinds, Lilah could make out even the finest wrinkles on Rex’s forehead. The crow’s feet at the corners of his eyes became more prominent when he smiled and she admired them, brushing them with her thumbs. There was nothing she didn’t love about this man.
Despite the fact that Rex was ten years older than Lilah’s parents, being together didn’t feel wrong at all because they both knew they were meant to be together. Fifteen and forty-five meant nothing to either of them. Mere numbers. Their love was all that mattered. Rex had loved Lilah before she even existed in this material form.
Rex had already waited so many years to be with her again. It had only been a matter of days since he had managed to track her down. This whole thing wouldn’t make sense to anyone else. It would look like an old rockstar stalking a small-town teenage girl. Who would believe she was his love in a past life who was taken too soon? No one. It would just appear sordid and deviant.
They had to be careful. Lilah’s mom thought she was going to the Rex concert with Alayna and spending the night at her house. Lilah had to sneak into his hotel room long before the concert and thankfully, Alayna had agreed to cover for her as long as she promised to divulge all of the sordid details later. Not that she really would.
Rex caressed Lilah’s cheek and smoothed the hair away from her face as he shook his head in disbelief that she was really here with him. He knew he shouldn’t have her here. He knew he needed to restrain himself, too. He was well aware that, if caught, his career and entire life would be over. Still, he couldn’t resist her and Rex knew that she wanted exactly what he wanted.
“I could go for a pizza.” Lilah broke his chain of thought.
He cradled her chin in the palm of his hand and blazed a trail of light kisses from her forehead to the tip of her nose. He teased his way around the perimeter of her lips. Her mouth searched for his, wanting a taste. He hovered just out of reach.
“Are you sure you want pizza?” The heat of his breath radiated all the way down to the tips of her toes.