The Coldest Night

The Coldest Night Read Online Free PDF Page A

Book: The Coldest Night Read Online Free PDF
Author: Robert Olmstead
somewhere he did not know and where he had never been before, somewhere on the earth and under the sky. It was nighttime. Or earliest morning. He did not know.
    From the long galley there came a nickering sound. Gaylen.
    He believed he heard footsteps coming to his door. He hoped it was she and when the door swung dim light into the room he could see that it was. He reached to light a bulb for them to see by. Her hair was a braid she wore wrapped twice around her head. She was cold and held her arms clasped to her chest.
    The watery light pressed against the cold in the room. She was shivering. He crossed the room to start the little kerosene heater.
    “You are a thief,” she said.
    “Why am I a thief?”
    “You stole my heart.”
    “I didn’t steal anything,” Henry said.
    “I want you,” she said.
    “How much do you want?”
    “How much do I want? I want everything you have.”
    “I don’t have anything,” he said.
    “Maybe you will have to learn to see yourself in a different way,” Mercy said.
    “Maybe we will both need to see ourselves differently.”
    She unbuttoned her riding pants and slid them down over her hips. The room was cold with night and she shivered again as she pulled off her sweater.
    He threw back the blanket, and she let her body, light and smooth skinned, as if she were the petals of a rose, lay down in the warmth he’d left behind. He slid in beside her and took her in his arms. He liked how dense and thick and well muscled her thighs and hips were from so much riding.
    “Tell me about the girls you have been with. Who were they and what were they like?”
    “I’ve never been with anyone,” he said.
    “Me neither,” she said.
    Her skin smelled of nutmeg and clove. His hands fit her ribs and he could hold her ass in his open palms. At first he shied from her mouth and then she was insistent. She found his mouth and that first night was his hands and his mouth and their bodies.
    As he hovered over her, she held him by his elbows and she told him she felt her body dividing. She closed on him and kept him inside her and bit his shoulder.
    “Don’t move,” she said, and he answered her by not moving and then she splayed her legs and there were contractions deep inside her and she gasped. She folded herself around him again and held him inside her and she would not let him go.
    When he came it was as if a violence inside his body. His legs shook and his arms quivered.
    She had wanted it and he had wanted it too. She said she hoped for it to happen and then she said she prayed for it to happen. She said it was what she wanted even more than she wanted him. But he did not mind.
    Then she told him he could move and he rolled to his side. She stared up at the rafters and told him she loved him, and when he told her he loved her too she told him he didn’t have to tell her that.
    “Not even if I want to?” he said.
    “If you want to, you can,” she said.
    Outside the window was north and the stars and the cold river.
    “Will you always love me?” Mercy said.
    “Always,” he said.
    “No matter what?”
    “No matter what.”
    He held her in his arms and sometime after, while she slept, he slipped from the bed and across the room he found the water pitcher and drank from it. He shivered in his nakedness. He was still wet with their lovemaking. That’s how soon she’d fallen asleep and how soon he left the warm bed. He could not imagine being so far away from her and went back and pulled up a chair beside the bed. He thought to sleep but never wanted to sleep again.
    She turned in her sleep. He wondered what she was dreaming. Her dream seemed intense and possessive. He thought to hear his name, but it was only a sound she made. She turned again in the bed. He reached to touch her, to assure her of his presence, but she startled and turned away from his touch.
    “Is everything all right,” she asked suddenly, sitting up in the bed.
    “I feel like you took my spine,” Henry
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