Then, as I stand across the room and look at him. The curve of his hip. Lightly tan, with a line, off center, where the inside shadow falls. Dark echo. Twin curves, really, even though I'm only seeing one side. They're shaped like the belly of a lute.
Like a lute? How old d'you think you are, Spike? Just a century older than him, not three.
But see, my grandmother had a lute. Didn't play it; wasn't exactly a proper occupation for a girl of her class, anymore --- but it was perfectly all right to *have* it, displayed on a little gold stand in the company sitting room. I used to trace the edge of it in the air, when we were visiting, and they left me to wander round by myself, while mum talked to her about money things I wasn't supposed to understand.
I was barely tall enough to reach the surface of the fussy old display table the thing rested on, and wouldn't have touched anyway; had my fingers slapped too many times early on, for touching. But I *wanted* to. Wanted to run my hand over the smooth curve of the luteback and see if that fragile wood felt as warm in my hand as it looked, glowing in the curtain-filtered English sun. Wanted to know what it sounded like, believing with the knowledge of the childish and the truly stupid, that if I could just touch it, beautiful music would pour out of the strings, even though I hadn't a clue how to play.
I don't care if it's too poetic. I came into this deal that way, remember? I just didn't know how to put the words together, back then.
I could say, his thighs are curved like the base of a pear. That's solid and twenty-first century for you, as much as anything. Fruit's timeless. But sometime when I wasn't looking, pear-shaped turned into a bad thing, so you'll be thinking he's fat, some black-furred grizzly bear, if I mention pears. Nah. He's big, but it's muscle beneath a layer of softness, and there's nothing on his body I'd ever want him to lose, not counting clothes. But you hear pear-shaped, and you think about some woman whining that they don't make dresses for people who look like her.
So no pears, even though for me, they mean market Sundays. Biting into tart golden skin, always expecting more sharpness inside, only to find the juice so shockingly sweet that it rolls down my chin as I suck at it, desperate for more.
Yes, I recognise the irony, thank you.
So... my lover has lute-shaped hips, when he bends them up to sit. That same golden curve, that same almost fragile look, for all the muscle, because bones beneath the skin break so easily, especially in Sunnydale. That same feeling that if I just place my hands there, feel the weight of that warm curve in my palm, the music will come.
Only now, I can. And it does.