The door swung open to reveal a completely relaxed man. “Hey, gorgeous,” he cooed.
She cocked her hip. She felt nothing close to gorgeous, and she knew she didn’t resemble it either. Makeup was slathered on her face, her hair was sweaty from several wig-changes, and she wore a brace and an ice patch on an ankle that had taken a bad spill from some ancient heels. She felt minute, defeated, and utterly disgusting.
“Come on in,” he said, as soothingly as he could. She instantly resented him. Here he sat, in the comfort of his own home, with little to do but mundane house-chores, and she had been onstage for the last five hours, under lights, heat, and pressure from the worst director to ever read a script. She fought the urge to spit on him, to make him feel as miserable and worthless as she did.
Then she crossed the threshold.
The house was dimly lit, mostly with candles, and a soft glow instantly put her at ease. He wrapped his strong arms around her, and she felt herself melt into him. Maybe she could relax, she thought. Maybe it would be okay for her to relax here.
He took her by the hand. “Come on in here,” he said, coaxing her to the hallway. The bathroom was softly lit, also with candles. “I went ahead and drew you a bath,” he whispered. He gently pulled her shirt up over her head, grazing her skin as he did so, then shimmied her pajama pants down to her ankles. Although she stood before him, half naked, he made no moves and there was no ulterior motive. He reached behind her in a semi-hug and unclasped her bra, kissing her forehead at the same time, and slid her panties down. Then he stepped back. “I’ll leave you to your bath,” he whispered. “Just let me know when you’re done.”
She slipped into the warm water and let out a huge sigh. She felt the perfumed steam come up around her, and she even closed her eyes briefly. When her eyelids fluttered open, she realized she had fallen asleep. She rose out the water, and reached for the towel.
He heard her stir and opened the door. “No, I’ll get that,” he said. He wrapped the fluffy cotton around her and gently dried her. Then he reached for her lotions. “Go ahead into the bedroom,” he instructed. “Just lay down.”
Exhausted and beaten down, she obeyed. He came in and turned off the lights, and lit yet more candles. “Roll over onto your stomach,” he said, and she obeyed. He rubbed lotion onto her damp back, kneading it into her muscles. She couldn’t help but moan. She heard her back pop several times, and she heard his breathing concentrate into a steady pattern as his hands moved up and down her spine. He worked his way down her torso, down to her knees, stopping at every major muscle group and working his nimble fingers into it. She finally felt herself give over to it and her whole body became limp. It had happened; she had relaxed.
“Roll over on to your back,” he whispered. She did as he said. Her eyes closed, she felt him begin at her toes and start to work his way up. She glanced down and saw him; this incredibly handsome man, with the gentle smile and eyes that had always seen through her, so incredibly focused and making her feel everything she hadn’t felt just an hour earlier. This man.. god, she loved him. His hands surrounded her knees, and she propped herself up on her elbows.
"Did I hurt you?” he asked, worried.
“Come here,” she said, smiling.
He worked his way up to her eye level. She brought her lips to his and hovered. “I love you,” she whispered, and then kissed him, softly at first, then deeper. Her tongue found his, and she couldn’t help but sigh at the loveliness of it all.
After it was all over, after they were sweaty and exhausted and relaxed beyond words, she lay beside him as he dozed. She often had gazed at him while he slept, and marveled at his features, the perfect little cleft in his chin, the flecks of copper in his sideburns, his boyish face.. and she saw him again. She felt the butterflies flutter in her stomach and realized how incredibly lucky she truly was. This man.. god, she loves him.