Monday, September 3, 2012

The park is almost deserted at this time of night. It's an old-fashoned city park, not a theme park. There are trees for shade, benches here and there - a little slice of nature in the midst of concrete. Mark and Rowan walk slowly through, Rowan commenting on the varied plant life she encounters - which ones are poisonous, which have medicinal properties - while Marc admires the woman on his arm. She seems more relaxed these days, able to slow down and take life as it comes, rather than simply going from one crisis to another. She smiles more, laughs more, the lines in her face smoothing out; but he often catches her looking worried when she thinks he doesn't see. He wonders what the problem is, but hopes she'll tell him about it in her own time.

They stop at an ice cream cart, one of the few vendors still open at this time of night, and Marc purchases a soft-serve cone with at least six inches of ice cream outside the cone. Rowan's eyes go big and Marc grins as he pushes it toward her lips. "Go ahead, Priestess, have a lick." Rowan seems to gulp, but then her face changes subtly; she takes the cone in both hands, draws her tongue slowly up the bottom, all the way up to the tip where the ice cream curves back toward the cone. There's a tiny smear of vanilla on her lips when she hands the cone back to Marc and he stops to kiss it away before turning his attention back to the ice cream. He brings the tip to his mouth, sucks off about three-quarters of an inch of the total, then hands it back to Rowan. Melted ice cream is running down the cone into the thin napkin that wraps around it, so she licks that off first, then takes another long lick from base to tip. Shw swallows, then takes another small bite from the tip and hands it back to Marc. Now Marc does the long-lick routine; Rowan nearly giggles, watching him.

The cone has been reduced by just over half its length now and Rowan hasn't said anything about it being unhealthy. Maybe she realized, somewhere along the way, that being a merc, Marc isn't likely to die from a heart attack. Maybe she just decided that being too careful causes you to miss out on the few joys that life offers. Maybe she just likes ice cream. However it is, between the two of them, the ice cream is soon gone. They attack the cone next, and then the napkin is disposed of in a wire wastebasket. Rowan gives Marc a radiant smile of a kind he's been seeing more and more of lately. "That was nice."

"Yeah, it was." Her eyes are shining and he leans in and kisses her wet mouth slowly, licking at her lips, sucking them... she slips her tongue into his mouth and the kiss deepens. There are still a few people in the park, but they're oblivious to their presence, pressed close together, necking like a pair of teenagers. Rowan's eyes are stormy when the kiss breaks, and Marc looks up into the sky, scenting rain.

"Starting to look stormy, maybe I should get you home." Rowan smiles, places another kiss on his lips and they walk out of the park arm in arm.

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