11 - Like a Shadow on the Sun

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The house seemed to breathe easier on Sundays.

Sunday was, in general, the only real day off in the week. With Liam at his dad's and the shop closed, Nat and Liz could spend the day lazily, lounging in bed until late in the morning, or cuddled on the couch watching something without the persistent interruptions of a child. That morning, as the golden late-morning sun filtered in through the blinds, Nat pressed her body in close to her wife's, her head rested in the hollow between her breasts, her arm draped across her belly. Her fingertips traced the lines of her hip, idly, working their way in vague oblong routes from upper thigh to lower abdomen, as if tracing the letters of a secret message.

Liz stroked her hair, smoothing the same few strands over and over, fingertips raking it back behind Nat's ear. Her touch lingered there, in that sensitive hollow behind her earlobe, that place where the touch of a lip or tongue could send a shiver through her body, before receding to make another pass through her hair.

It was, in other words, a perfect morning. A moment worthy of memorializing, like a photograph, like a slice-of-life oil painting to be hung in the museum of their lives.

"I'm thinking breakfast," Liz said, adjusting her weight slightly against the pillow, moving into a more seated position.

Nat, unseated by the change in posture, slid the side of her face down Liz's body, cat-like. She planted a sideways kiss above her navel, a teasingly chaste brush of lips, before rolling in closer to envelope her in her arms, pulling her in tight. "Do we have to get out of bed?"

"Well, one of us has to." Liz smiled. "I haven't gotten around to hiring a gremlin to do it for us."

"Then I veto breakfast."

"You want to spend all day in bed?" She lifted a hand, placing it gently beneath Nat's chin, tilting her face upward. "I just washed these sheets."

Nat grinned. "I'll hold you hostage, if I have to."

Liz withdrew her hand, used it to brace herself as she scooted into a fully upright position. Nat rolled over onto her back, head on her wife's thigh, gazing up like a cat asking for belly rubs.

"Come on. Breakfast. I've got some stuff to do today, and I'm pretty sure there's a stack of papers out there waiting for you."

Her nose wrinkled. "Work? On a Sunday? Blasphemy."

She shrugged. "Well, maybe work can wait. But you seemed pretty interested in finding out more about our mystery storage unit owners. Aren't you a little curious to find out who they are?"

She hated to admit it, but she was. She liked mysteries, and the mystery of a family who owned expensive antiques and left behind hastily-packed boxes of papers was enticing. Almost enticing enough to warrant getting out of bed.

Liz rose from the bed side, rummaging among the clothes by the bed, looking for a pair of underwear. "I, for one, am going to go crazy until I figure out what the deal is with that dog."

The dog, of course. Nat had almost forgotten. But now, remembering it, standing its dark sentinel watch by their front door, she felt something heavy form in her stomach. Despite the warmth of the sun creeping into the room around the edges of the window covering, a chill ran through her. She couldn't explain it, this sudden shift in her mood, but it was as if a cloud had suddenly covered the sun; the room seemed to darken, grow cold, hushed.

The magic of the morning dissipated like a raindrop against hot pavement. 

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