He sees me to my car, opens the door for me and leans in the window once I've started the engine.
"See you at home?"
The drama of our life; we always seem to have two cars to drive home. "I have to make a stop on the way. But I'll be home soon."
He leans in for a chaste kiss, tells me to drive carefully. Walks to his own car.
It's after one now; we caught the last train running. I pull out onto the highway and drive a few stations back up the line. One of the main depots sits right across the road from the beach, and there's a security guard stationed overnight. When I pull up beside his car everything is quiet. There's no road noise, nothing from the tracks. Just the distant surf. It's been stormy lately.
I can see T's base; it's the carriage with all the doors shut and a filmy torchlight illuminating the windows. He brings a laptop and books to work with him, writes his thesis in between sweeps of the yard. He says that after two a.m. a kind of sixth sense takes over; footsteps crunch on gravel like loudspeaker crackle, voices carry clearly on the wind. He's fast and agile; the kids don't often outrun him and the druggies don't stand a chance. I'm not surprised that he's already walking toward my car, arms outstretched.
"Ellie! God, I've missed you so much. Isn't this like old times?"
"Hmmm. Well, I'm married, you're studying - actually, this is nothing like old times." It's exactly like old times; this is the way we tease each other into a softness. The camaraderie belies the urgency of our bodies. Whoever said attraction is magnetic wasn't lying.
"Come on. I made camp early tonight." He grabs my hand and marches me across to the dead train. My shoes weren't made for loose gravel, and I have to tiptoe geisha steps until T. impatiently sweeps me up across his chest and carries me up to the door.
I'd thought he'd left a torch on the floor, but he can still surprise me. Candles. Tiny tealights. Perhaps a hundred of them; they're barely diminished when the draft from the door shocks a few out.
I didn't realise I was holding my breath until he hops up behind me and pulls me up from the floor. "Shall we dance?"
"You said it was a waste of time."
"No, I said learning to dance was a waste of time. Actually dancing with you, on the other hand, is more of an investment. Nearly as good as foreplay. In fact, I think it may count as foreplay."
Our banter's the real foreplay. "So, your thesis attempts to address the complexity of the female psyche now?"
"No, I'm looking at the simple parts."
"Short thesis then."
He pinched me lightly, a hint of reproof in his grin. "Now, now, you like to make yourselves out to be incredibly complicated creatures, but we all know how much the simple things matter. Reliable shopping companions, non-chip nail polish, the perfect red lipstick..."
He held me more tightly to him as I thumped his shoulder roughly, laughing "Bastard!"
"Which, by the way, I notice you're not wearing. Although there seem to be some rather stunning suspenders at work under this skirt. Very fetching."
He'd taken advantage of our clinch to ruffle my skirt upwards and do a little exploring.
"And silk, too. I do like the way you're so robustly feminist about most things."
"Because suspenders and stilettos are so inhibiting, I'm absolutely bound and gagged and unable to function."
"Shut up and kiss me."