She debated not clearing out the beautiful hillside of trees behind her house but she wanted a deck.
A wide deck for dancing, a deck for staring at the stars.
A multilevel deck, one that gave the semblance of a pirate ship for kids to play on when their parents came to visit.
Shelmi usually got what she wanted.
The old deck, although adequate, wasn’t spacious, it was intimate, hugging the back of the house like the lip of a lid, enough room for two people to pass.
Or two people to kiss, depending on her mood and the direction her parties took after midnight.
But it’s morning now, coffee brewing on the counter, her husband frying breakfast on the stove while she waits for the biscuits to turn golden brown in the oven.
She stands on her tiptoes and kisses him on the neck.
He lightly smacks her bottom as she teasingly scurries out of his reach.
She looked out the sliding glass doors at Lee leaning on the deck railing, a cup of microwaved tea in his hands, a little caffeine to wake him up after spending the night.
She admired his form, a male dancer’s middle-aged body, wider now but still firm.
He no longer shaved his legs which made him more attractive, especially in cutoff jeans and a sleeveless undershirt, his skin glowing slightly in the morning humidity, the night never cooling off during this recent heatwave.
She opened the door and walked two steps up behind him, wrapping her arms around his waist and squeezing, pressing her face into the space between his shoulder blades.
“Good morning, love,” she purred.
He turned slightly to lift his right arm and pull her up beside him. “Good morning to you, cuteness.”
She rubbed the top of her head into the crook of his arm like a cat. “Mmmm…I am the luckiest girl alive.”
Lee nodded, bent down and kissed her forehead. He had once double-guessed himself and his relationship with Shelmi, never quite sure where he stood with her husband, Byrne, who only wanted to talk about do-it-yourself electronic projects whenever the two of them found themselves alone together.
He stopped double-guessing a long time ago. It was part of his transformation to a new self.
Lee had accepted a set of goals from his elderly Ecuadorean mentor when he was a toddler, one of which was to leave this planet and carry a message at least a million years old, passing it on to the next in line.
The goals included a lot of minor milestones, some he was given explicitly and some he was told would come to him as he matured.
He figured out that although his subculture expected him to establish and maintain a monogamous, heterosexual relationship for life with a person of the opposite sex, he was to move on past that subculture and create a new one, perhaps on Mars, but at least on extraterrestrial turf.
Shelmi was key to that transformation.
He set down his cup of tea on the deck railing and lifted Shelmi into his arms, making sure he didn’t reinjure the ankle she nearly broke when she fell in the dark while walking down slippery stairs with an infant a few days ago, Byrne helplessly watching that night from the kitchen window, his favourite place to stand as main cook in the family, running to her aid, worried the baby was hurt more than Shelmi.
She grabbed Lee around the neck and planted a wet kiss on his lips. “You…you…” Her eyes lit up and her cheeks flushed red as she stuttered to say something.
“You. I love you.”
He smiled. “I love you, too. Should I set you down?”
“Not yet.” They kissed again as she explored the back of his neck with her fingers. “What’s that bump?”
“That? Oh, it’s part of a biohacking experiment that Byrne and I are working on.”
They kissed again. She laughed. “You’re a slobbery kisser this morning!”
“Yeah. It’s cause I’m hungry. When is breakfast going to be ready?”
“Set me down! I’m going to burn the biscuits!”
He set her on her feet slowly, making sure she didn’t put pressure on her sore ankle as she stepped back toward the house, turning to blow Lee a kiss at the door. “Hold that thought. We’ll continue this conversation later. It’s NSFW next time,” she whispered as she winked at him and slid the door closed.
Byrne had set the tray biscuits on top of the counter. “There you are. I thought you might be a while.”
Shelmi kissed her husband. “You’re the most thoughtful honey a woman could ask for. Isn’t the sky such a lovely shade of pale blue this morning? I can’t wait to open up the canopy of trees further and get the new deck built.”
Byrne nodded. “Uh-huh. But it’s not the blue sky you’re really thinking about, is it?”
She hugged him. “It is…during the day!”