A brisk wind blew through him as he stood at the prow. The metallic tang of salt water rushed into lungs breathing deeply of the scent. Astern, the sky was darkened by storm, drops of silver stippling the water in a mad tattoo. Forward beyond the bow, the sun was tasting the rippled horizon of a sea the color of wine, as dawn caressed the waves with fingers of rose and peach. The captain reached out a scarred hand to touch the goddess, as if she knew of his devotion, and he swore he saw her face, wide and smiling, before he jumped into the sea.
Awakening. A faint sizzle he first took for the sound of bacon frying, or rainfall. This confused him, as his eyes, though yet unopened, saw a glow of sunlight seeping through the lids. It was warm, wherever he was, and through the open window came the sun and the faint murmur of waves on a beach. He felt torpid, immobile, as if poured into place. There was a slight stirring of the air, which itself was heavy with the aroma of the sea and feminine musk. He realized he was naked, with only a swath of nicely scratchy linen draped across his belly and thighs. The sound of water spilling onto stones came from the adjacent bath, then slowed and stopped. There was only a faint slow dripping. He turned his head and opened his eyes.
She was there, in the archway from the bath, running a towel across her hair. Skin the color of cream and coffee, hair like midnight and a body that made him think art truly was the intersection of Truth and Beauty. Wrapping the towel around her head, she looked up to catch him staring. She smiled. His heart stopped. She padded over to the bed to sit beside him, the curve of her hip resting against his belly. He was acutely aware of the heat seeping into his skin.
Eyes of smoky emerald held his gaze while her left hand held his cheek. He reached up with his right hand, curling it around her wrist. He opened his mouth to speak, then closed it. He felt the words drain away. Her gaze softened.
"What?" she said softly. His pulse spiked.
"It's...I...had the dream again. Of you." He spoke in a low, rushed voice. He blinked quickly, suddenly nervous. She didn't say anything for five, then ten heartbeats. Her fingers never left his cheek. With languid grace, she leaned over to bring her lips almost even with his, which were trembling slightly. Her breath zephyring across his chin as she spoke.
"Did you jump?"
He knew that question was coming, but it still caught him off guard. His answer was so faint as to be nearly inaudible, but he knew she heard.
Her hand slid down from his cheek, down his side and delicately pulled the sheet away. Her other hand had reached up to pull the towel off from her head. Midnight fell over his face, she leaned into him, and whispered into his mouth, "Then do it again. Do it again."
His hands fumbled into her hair, drawing her onto him, and he dove headlong into the wine-dark sea.
Author's note: This is my 600th post. Imagine that. 600 of these things, and I'm still chasing dreams.