She leaned over and kissed him. "It was nice."
Mark smiled. "Look how old we are. If a woman had told me in my 20s that sex was nice I would have been suicidal. Now I know exactly what you meant."
She kissed him again. "It was very nice."
"It was." He ran his hand along the expanse of her waist and rested his palm on her hip. "I'm glad I stopped into Crave."
She leaned into his caress. "Me too."
He cradle her in his arms and let out a small satisfied sigh.
She looked up into his eyes. "I don't know anything about you. I know you're funny."
"Well, I'm not really funny. That was just my attempt at amusing bar talk."
"It was funny. So what's your situation? Tell me about you." She ran her hand over his chest and settled her palm on his stomach.
Mark pushed his toes outside her blankets. One foot was clothed; one was not. He wiggled the unbound arch. "Well ..." He drew out the word into a tripled syllable sigh. "Let's see. I'm middle-aged. Obviously. I'm not married." His next sentence was powered by a chuckle. He patted her hand with his palm and pushed both into his paltry paunch. "Obviously I'm not a professional athlete."
She shared his laugh and moved her hand over his abdomen in a show of affection. She looked down and saw the sock. She laughed. "You've left one sock on."
"I'm missing part of my foot." The dusk of dawn shadowed his shame.
"Oh. What happened?"
"Diabetes. I kept it covered because it embarrasses me."
She pulled him close. "Oh that's just silly! There's nothing to be ashamed of!"
She shifted subjects. "So do you regularly pick women up in bars?"
"No. Not anymore. I used to. But no. Not anymore."
"I hate to break it to you, honey, " she laughed, "but you just did!"
"So why tonight? Why'd you come home with me?"
He unwrapped his arms and put them behind his head. His palm cradled his pate. "Um. That's a huge question."
She laughed and turned onto her side. "No it's not. You're supposed to answer that I was irresistible!"
"Well now you are. I did in fact flirt and court you. So I am duly enticed."
She turned sheepish and shy. She pulled her sheet to her shoulders. "What caught your attention?"
He considered which compliment he'd gift. "You've got great eyes."
"And you've got great tits."
She laughed. "Thank you." She shied from her laugh and stopped it with a blush.
"Hey woman listen to me, they're seriously great."
"Thank you. But please don't say that."
"No. Please don't call me woman. It makes me think you've forgotten my name."
"I did not forget your name. Joan." He mentioned it with a matter-of-fact march. "See?"
"I'm not like that." He pulled his arms away from his pillow and urged her closer to him. "This was less about sex than you would believe."
"What's it about then?"
He took his hands off her and scrubbed his face with each palm. "Um. I don't want to be rude. I honestly don't. And considering the intimacy we've just shared it makes me seem like a Goddamned creep, but I don't want to answer a lot of questions. And it's my fault because I say too much to expect someone to care too little. So I get it."
"I don't think I understand what you're saying."
"Um. Let me think." He sat up and backed up against her headboard. "Goddamn I miss cigarettes!" He nearly whined and then laughed. "How am I supposed to think without them?"
Joan laughed. "How long ago did you quit?"
"Two and a half years ago." He ran his hand over his head and wiped the sweat from his scalp. She stretched over his stomach and grabbed a pack of cigarettes from inside a night stand drawer. "I have a pack. Do you want one?"
"No thanks." He resisted her urge.
She put them back inside her drawer and rolled onto her side. Her breasts bordered above her sheet.
He scrunched down on the bed and lowered his mouth. "These are lovely."
"When I first started breastfeeding my kids, I was so embarrassed!"
"You breastfed?" Mark traced her nipple with his tongue. "Lucky bastards!" They both laughed.
Joan let out a small sigh.
He jerked erect. "Okay wait."
She sat upright as well. "What? What's wrong?"
"Okay look." He swung his legs off her bed and stood up straight. "See emotions are like breasts."
"What?" She looked at him and deemed him dense.
"No seriously. Work with me here." He walked around her room without a care for his lack of clothes. "See emotions are like breasts. They're held close to the heart. When they are expressed they can nourish someone's soul. They're meant to be upfront." He stopped and stood beside her dresser. "Sometimes it's proper to expose them. Sometimes it's not."
She laughed. "Breasts really are the only thing men think about!"
He took a step forward. "No, this has absolutely nothing to do with sex."
She laughed with disbelief.
"Seriously it doesn't. Hey look. We just had sex. And if you count inside your car in the lot, we've had sex twice. Woma ...," he stopped himself. "I'm not interested in sex right now. I'm talking about how I ...," he stopped to think; she stopped her actions and stared. He continued, "how this wasn't really about sex with me tonight. And why I didn't want to explain it to you."
"I don't understand your point."
"Tonight I wanted to express my emotions and not have to explain them. I am so tired of having to explain my emotions and decisions. People say ... hell I say ... I live balls out. But that's not true. It's not. I live shirtless. I risk my balls but I live unclothed."
"You’re very intense." Joan leaned over and regrasped her cigarettes from her drawer. She spoke through the filter and through the flame and through the smoke. "I understand what you're saying though. I do." She exhaled. "So why not just put on a shirt? Why not just expose less?"
He looked at her. "Hey. How old are you?"
She abruptly took the cigarette from her mouth. "52. Why?"
"You are one fabulous looking 52 year old woman." He smiled. "I'm 44."
"Today?" She laughed. "Happy Birthday!"
"No, not today. Smartass." He laughed. "Why won't I expose less of myself?" He laughed again. "I'm standing here dick out bitching about how exposed I live! Nothing on earth explains me more."
Joan laughed. "Come back to bed."
"I'm mostly talking out loud. I can't live concealed but I can't explain every emotion to everyone. I just can't anymore." He crawled and slid between her sheets.
"You're a ..." she struggled for her word, "unique man."
"I know. You have no idea how sad that word makes me."
She started to speak; he silenced her with his kiss.