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Japanese Title: 「浪曼。」
Published: December 21st, 2012
Time Period: December, 2012
Editor: Lindsay York
Cover Photo: Wisky
Paperback: Currently Not Available
On the eve of their wedding, Aiko discovers her girlfriend Reina has some second thoughts about marriage, life, and aging. Even after twenty years together, Reina still doesn't know what she wants from her relationship - can Aiko remind her about the "Rouman", or romance, that they've cultivated and shared over the years? It's probably going to take all night.
Aiko leaned her head against her girlfriend’s shoulder. “I hope growing old with me isn’t a bad idea.” She fiddled with one of the buttons hanging from Reina’s shirt.
The quiet following shouldn’t have bothered Aiko – she was used to hearing nothing but her own heartbeat after soliciting affection. But she counted the passing seconds anyway, her finger continuing to flip the button over and over until Reina stilled it with her own hand.
“I can’t think of anyone I’d rather be with.”
She kissed the back of Aiko’s hand. Butterflies fluttered inside her stomach, locking themselves in her rib cage and catching around her heart. Twenty years, and she’s never said something so romantic. Rarely were arduous words expressed in such a manner. A few months ago Aiko had complained about it, and after a rough patch Reina tried to share her feelings more often.
“I love you, too.”
Their eyes met with nary a shadow between them. Aiko couldn’t contain a smile broadcasting all her appreciation for the woman she had loved for so long.
“You know what I love about you?” Reina said, before pecking her girlfriend’s lips. “The fact that you’ve put up with somebody like me for so long. I don’t know how you do it.”
Aiko held her palm against Reina’s cheek and kissed her back. “I don’t think of it as ‘putting up with you.’ I’ve been with you for so long because I love you, despite any faults.”
“Oh? And what is there to love about somebody like me?”
Before Aiko could chastise her girlfriend’s self-deprecation, something twinkled in Reina’s pupil and a twitch edged her mouth. An ego boost, is it? Aiko embraced her again, their heads knocking together. “I love how I feel in your arms.”
“And how’s that?”
Warmness inflated Aiko with every question her girlfriend asked – her frozen appendages were thankful for it. “Beautiful. Loved. I guess I don’t need to hear you say you love me so often, because I can feel it when you hold me.”
Was that the touch of a blush on Reina? “Well, I love holding you, so I guess it’s a good relationship.”
“Then maybe you should hold me right now.”
Reina’s grin thawed the last of Aiko’s skin. If it hadn’t, the hug would have: strong and sincere, like the love Aiko felt for her girlfriend in return. She struggled to hold Reina back in a like manner, but her arms fumbled and she searched for an enclave to hide in. The familiar scent of Reina’s sweat rang her neurons.
Of course, someone like Reina couldn’t leave a hug at just a hug. The heat intensified between them, reddening their skin and sending an inferno to the pit of Aiko’s stomach, where it exterminated the butterflies. As Reina’s hands meandered across her girlfriend’s body, a brief moment of nervousness overtook Aiko – the same tension she felt every time Reina informed her she wanted to make love.
Hence the astounding difference between an affectionate kiss and one meant to convey sentiment and arouse. Reina needed training over the years on the former, but not the latter. Her lips, her tongue, her body could arouse even the sleepiest desire inside another woman. Once, Aiko had such a lazy passion, until she met the one woman who woke her from sexual slumber.
“Reina,” she managed to say, before her girlfriend’s tongue entered her mouth. She swallowed the rest of her words.
But Reina cut their liaison short, pulling her head away while keeping her arms stiff around Aiko’s body. “Can you feel it now that I’m holding you?”
Feel what? Aiko blinked away the trance Reina had inspired, and realized that her hand laid beneath the white blouse, pressed against a flat breast. I feel all of her.
Aiko responded to her nickname with a start, as if it had been the go button to her consciousness. “Does that answer your question?”
Chuckling, Reina combed her fingers through Aiko’s bobbed brown hair, her nails scratching a pleasant spot. “I love that even after all these years you still haven’t become jaded about my flirtations.”
Aiko smiled. “I love that you flirt with me just as much as you did when we first met.”
“How can I not, when you’re just as beautiful now as you were then?”
Teeth clamped onto Aiko’s bottom lip as she buried her face in Reina’s bare chest. She squealed her blushing delight and thumped a fist into her girlfriend’s side. “You think I’m beautiful?” she asked, once she raised her head again.
Aiko could have kissed her – did kiss her, the excitement from such a compliment lifting her spirits. “Tell me more about what you love.”
“Only if you do the same for me.”
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