by A.S. Mara
It used to be something they celebrated every year, counting down the days beforehand with casual reminders, planning reservations and buying gifts for each other. Not a huge deal, but still a special day they liked to remember. But as the years passed, and the electric chemistry that buzzed between them slowly eased into something softer and more comfortable, the celebrations petered off too. It was hard to pinpoint exactly when it happened, only that at present, more often than not, they simply forgot about it.
So it was with some surprise that Adhi found his eleven-year-old daughter already up and waiting for him in the kitchen on a Saturday morning, hands moving to form the words, “Happy Anniversary!”
Adhi blinked at the sight, slowly enough that Chiru began to frown and lifted her hands again, repeating the words.
It made no more sense the second time around than it did the first. Adhi gathered his thoughts enough to sign back, asking, “What anniversary?”
The frown on his daughter’s face deepened in the kind of solemn disapproval only an eleven-year-old could express. Adhi felt chastened even before he saw the answer. “Your marriage to Papa,” she said, shaking her head slightly. “It’s today.”
Adhi stared at her for a beat longer, then reached for his phone. The digits on his screen confirmed that Chiru was, in fact, right.
“I completely forgot,” he signed, feeling sheepish.
Chiru shook her head again, but walked over to him for a hug. Adhi returned it gladly, and was just entertaining the idea of trying to lift Chiru up into the air–like he used to when she was smaller, before she started protesting it–when he heard footsteps behind him. Chiru wriggled out of his arms and moved to Sharala to repeat her greeting and hug him as well.
Sharala met his eyes over the top of their daughter’s head, smile as sheepish as Adhi felt, which went a long way to relieve the guilt that had begun to collect in his stomach.
After that, Chiru dragged them both over to the kitchen table, where a plate of charming, lightly burnt toast had been prepared for them both. She waited patiently for them to pour themselves a cup of coffee each, using the water she had thoughtfully boiled beforehand, then settled down at the table with her customary bowl of cereal.
After they finished cleaning up, Chiru tapped Adhi’s hand to get his attention.
“I’m going to spend the weekend at Uncle Luka’s house,” she signed, casual as anything. “So please make sure to celebrate properly this year.”
“What?” Adhi said out loud. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Sharala turn in their direction. “What do you mean?” Adhi signed.
“You have to celebrate your anniversary properly,” Chiru said. “It’s important to take care of each other, so we stay together as a family.”
Adhi gaped at her. It was Sharala who knelt down to be at eye level with her as he asked, “You don’t think we take care of each other?”
“Not enough,” she said. “Families who don’t take care of each other don’t stay together.”
“Where did you read about that?”
“In a book Granny Frithi gave me. It’s important.”
“We can still spend time together with you,” Adhi said. “There’s no reason to we have to be alone to do it.”
Chiru gave him a disapproving look. It took seeing the faint flush spreading across Sharala’s cheeks for Adhi to realise what Chiru meant.
“And where,” Adhi demanded, face hot all over, “did you read about that?“
“School,” she said. “I’m going to pack. Uncle Luka is picking me up soon.”
And with that, she turned right around and marched into her room without another word.
Adhi turned to look at his partner.
“Did that really just happen?” Sharala asked quietly.
“I think so,” he replied. “Sorry I forgot our anniversary.”
“It’s fine,” Sharala said with a small, embarrassed grin. “I forgot about it too.”
Adhi rubbed the back of his neck. “We celebrated last year though, right?”
Sharala’s brow furrowed in thought. “I’m sure we did. I remember there was cake and…board games.”
He nodded along, then stopped. “Wait…I think that was Chiru’s birthday. There was that new game she kept asking for…”
Sharala took a moment to consider this. “All right, but the year before that, I’m sure.”
Adhi thought about it, long and hard. Sharala lapsed into a similar silence that stretched around them.
Sharala crossed his arms. “Surely we’ve had sex recently.”
Adhi stared at him, watching the mortification he could feel settling into his skin mirrored in Sharala’s expression of increasing horror.
“No,” Sharala whispered.
“But how would Chiru know that?” Adhi demanded, feeling a mixture of desperation and panic rising up his throat. “She doesn’t know that.”
“Maybe she…guessed?” Sharala covered his eyes with one hand. “No, stop. I need to sit down.”
Adhi watched his partner stumble out of the kitchen, and turned a little desperately to the sink, desperate for something to do. He got started on the dishes, trying to drown out his thoughts in the brainless chore and failing entirely.
Light flashed in the corner of his eye just as he heard the doorbell ring, which effectively dragged him out of his mortified stupor in front of the still-unfinished dishes. He dragged his feet over to the front door and opened it to find Luka, holding a bottle of Kamira’s White in his hands.
“Happy anniversary to you both,” he said, handing the gift over. “I’ve been assured by the shop owner that this is one of the crowd favourites, and Raz informed me it has a satisfying, buzzing aftertaste, whatever that’s supposed to mean.”
“I–Thank you,” Adhi said, taking the bottle from him. “Do you want to come in?”
“No, that’s alright, I don’t want to intrude. Is Chiru ready?”
“About that,” he started. “Are you sure? You don’t have to do this. I’m sure you have other plans for your weekend.”
“No, I don’t mind at all. And before you ask, neither do the others.” Here, he smiled a little. “We’ve been looking forward to this for weeks.”
“We’d love to have her for the weekend. You know we enjoy her company.” Luka smiled a little wider, his grin turning wry. “And we all agree it’s important for the two of you to have more time alone.”
Adhi opened his mouth to protest further, face heating treacherously, but at that moment Chiru reappeared at his side with Sharala in tow. She gave Adhi another quick hug and stepped back. “Have a good weekend,” she signed.
“Wait,” Adhi said, resting a hand on Chiru’s shoulder. Chiru turned her patient, unyielding gaze on him, and he gave up the rest of his protest. “Have you got everything you need?”
“Run your plans for the weekend by me?”
“Art project, lunch, homework, movie over dinner, sleepover. Breakfast, homework, lunch. Home.”
“Don’t worry about the food,” Luka added, hands moving. “We’ll order in.”
Adhi looked at them both, then turned to his partner. Sharala met his gaze with a faintly resigned smile, and shrugged.
“Alright,” Adhi said. “Have fun, Chiru.”
“Remember we love you,” Sharala said and kissed Chiru on the forehead.
“I love you too,” she replied, then added, “remember to love each other.”
Then Chiru exchanged one of her bags for Luka’s hand, who shot one last amused smile Adhi’s way, and marched off.
Adhi watched them go, Sharala standing next to him by the doorway. Once the two figures rounded the corner and disappeared down the stairs, Sharala turned to him. “This is not how I expected my Saturday to go.”
Adhi laughed. “Me neither. What were your plans for today?”
Sharala crossed his arms. “Nothing much, really. Go to the shops if you needed anything. Help Chiru with homework. Sleep.”
Adhi shut the door behind him and headed back into the kitchen. “Well, you can still sleep, and we can get some groceries later. Two out of three isn’t so bad.”
Sharala hummed softly, and laid a hand across the small of Adhi’s back. “I think our daughter may be right though. We should do something to celebrate, even if it’s a small thing.”
Surprised, Adhi turned to him, running water splashing onto his hands. “What do you want to do?”
Sharala shrugged, shoulders lifting a little helplessly. “Things we used to do? Dinner, movie, a walk out in the park, maybe. Anything out of our usual routine.”
“You know we don’t have to do anything, right?”
“I know, I just think we should,” Sharala said. “I mean, I think it would be nice. I don’t remember why we stopped celebrating.”
Adhi looked at him, at the small, sad smile that was tugging at the corners of his mouth. “Yeah, alright.” He put away the last of the dishes onto the drying rack. “So what do you want to do?”
“How about a movie?” Sharala asked.
“What, right now? It’s noon.”
“So? People watch movies when the sun’s still out.”
“But we usually watch them at night. Or well. We used to anyway.”
Sharala gave him a gentle nudge. “That’s no reason not to go see a movie right now.”
Adhi hesitated. “Yeah…I guess you’re right.”
“Excellent!” Sharala exclaimed and then paused, before leaning in to give him a quick chaste kiss on the cheek. Adhi was too stunned by the suddenness of the gesture to respond, and by then Sharala had already turned away. “Let me get my wallet and a coat. Then we can go.”
Adhi stood there for a moment, in silence. His cheeks felt warm, and his chest too, a soft, pleasant feeling.
An hour later they were standing in front of the now showing list at the cinema, slowly working their way down the list by taking turns looking up quick summaries and reviews.
‘”–and then apparently the love interest steals the relic from right under her nose and runs off, leaving an apology letter about how their job is more important than their love which sets things up for what people are presuming will be a sequel.”
“That,” Adhi said, “is a whole lot of unnecessary drama.”
“Yeah. I’ll check out the next one.”
Adhi squinted back down at his phone. “Well this one is about space…immigrants? I’m not really following the plot, to be honest. Maybe we’ll skip this one too.”
“If it’s got JD in it, I’d say we skip it on principle,” Sharala said without looking up.
“Yeah, good point.” Adhi scrolled down the walls of text. “Oh, hang on. Isn’t this the one you wanted to watch? Starship Tani?”
Sharala gasped. “I completely forgot about that. It’s still playing?”
“Yeah, the next session is in 20 minutes.”
Sharala gripped Adhi’s arm. “Let’s watch that one.”
And Adhi, faced with the gentle weight on his arm and Sharala’s bright, pleading gaze, could only say, “Okay.”
Sharala insisted on paying for the tickets, so Adhi snuck away and bought them both popcorn–sweetened, because that’s the only kind Sharala would eat–and drinks–bottled water, because Adhi had finally gotten out of the habit of soda, and wasn’t about to let himself relapse. Adhi returned to the ticketing counters to find Sharala only just exiting the queue. When Sharala spotted him, his gaze turned shrewd, an expression Adhi realised he hadn’t seen much recently, and had missed dearly.
Sharala took the popcorn from Adhi’s grip and replaced it with his hand, twining their fingers together. He was still smiling. “I suppose now we’re tied,” he said, in a tone that promised vengeance.
Adhi ducked his head. “Let’s find our seats.”
To his surprise, the cinema was emptier than he expected.
“Maybe most people have already seen this movie,” Sharala murmured.
“Or maybe this movie just sucks,” Adhi offered.
Sharala whacked him gently on the arm, sending Adhi’s bangles clinking together. Adhi hissed in pretended pain.
“Watch the drinks,” Adhi chided, gesturing to the still-sealed bottled water.
Sharala laughed, a low, quiet sound, and held his seat down for him. He had put them both in the back row, near the middle of the room. This meant there were plenty of empty spots between the two of them and everyone else, which was exactly how Adhi preferred it.
They spent the entirety of the commercials whispering to each other. When the movie finally started, Adhi started drifting off almost immediately, lulled into a sleepy daze by the complicated layers of politics and secrecy he could barely follow. It wasn’t until Sharala pressed an arm close against his own and began a hushed commentary of the plot that Adhi managed to focus on the movie again.
“–So why did they decide to keep the plant a secret again?”
“Because,” Sharala murmured, as patient and earnest as the first time, “they know the community chief knows they have it, and they assume she told her partner, who would have told her mother, who’s friends with the lead scientist. And if the lead scientist knows, their company’s business rival knows too.”
Adhi took a moment to parse this. Sharala had stopped using the characters’ names about 20 minutes in because Adhi kept mixing them up, but if he was being honest, this wasn’t much better. “But why don’t they just destroy it?”
“Because it’s worth a lot of money.”
“To the people they’re hiding the plant from?”
“But they’re not selling it.”
“But why?” Adhi asked, still whispering, exasperated. “Why wait?”
Sharala turned a fond smile his way, the shape of it highlighted by the flashing lights on the big screen. He squeezed Adhi’s hand. “I’m sure it’ll make sense in the end.”
It did not make sense in the end, Adhi decided, as he dumped their empty bottles and popcorn box into the appropriate trash cans on their way out. It made absolutely zero sense and in his opinion, the movie’s only saving grace was the way Sharala was beaming quietly next to him.
“Thank you for watching that with me,” Sharala said, once they were back on the streets. “I know it wasn’t really your thing.”
“I didn’t mind,” Adhi told him, warming his hands in the pockets of his coat. “None of the other shows sounded interesting anyway. Besides, you liked it.”
Sharala smiled at him. “What do you want to do next?”
Adhi hesitated. “Is it okay if we head back? I’m a bit tired.”
“Of course,” Sharala said, and linked their arms together. “Let’s go home.”
Adhi woke, groggy and disoriented, to the smell of frying butter. He pushed himself up and half-fell off the couch, narrowly missing the coffee table as he stumbled onto the floor.
“Adhi?” came Sharala’s voice, concern. “Was that you?”
“Yeah,” he croaked, and cleared his throat. “It’s fine.” He took a minute to gather his thoughts, looking around the living area, before pushing himself to his feet and heading for the kitchen.
The scent of butter grew stronger, tinged with garlic. Adhi walked up to where Sharala was standing by the stove, and peered over his shoulder. “Are you making dinner?” he asked, incredulous.
Sharala flushed. “Maybe.”
Adhi looked at the plate of fish waiting at his side. “We have fish?”
“I went out and bought some.”
“While you were sleeping.” Sharala shot him a small smile. “Did you have a good nap?”
Adhi rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t even remember falling asleep.”
“Well, you certainly look more awake now.” He picked up the plate of fish and gestured with his free hand. Adhi obediently took a step back. “Have you been working late nights again?”
“For a while,” he said, then fell silent as the fish sizzled in the pan, loud in their small kitchen. He reached up and turned on the fans on the cooker hood. “But we finished it yesterday, so I’ve been getting more sleep.”
“I’m sorry I dragged you out today.”
“Don’t be,” he said. “I had fun. And I think I needed to get out of the apartment for something not work-related.”
Sharala hummed and flipped the fish. It turned over cleanly, without sticking, which made him smile.
Adhi took a few more steps back, and looked around. “Anything I can help with?”
“Do you mind getting the rice?”
Adhi obliged, washing the grains and rinsing them. He let the sounds of cooking soak up the silence around them, and it made him remember the first few days they cooked together, back when they had first gotten the apartment and were still figuring out how to balance chores, their time and their space. It made him realise how far they had drifted over the years–not far enough that it had become a problem, only that they hadn’t even noticed the distance that had grown between them.
He thought about saying something–what, exactly, he wasn’t sure, only that he felt like he should name it, somehow.
But the dinner Sharala had put together waited appealingly–butter-fried fish, steamed mix vegetables and white rice still hot from the pot. Sharala sat down at the table, so Adhi sat opposite, and they dug into the food in easy, companionable silence. The nagging urge in his throat slid back down a little further with each swallow, until Adhi let it go completely, and the moment passed.
After the last of the dishes had been washed and set to one side to dry, the two of them sank heavily onto the couch with a loud sigh. Even though Adhi had just woken up from a nap, he felt inexplicably drained, his eyelids drooping low even as he fought to stay awake. Sharala sighed again, and leaned closer, until they were pressed up together on one end of the couch.
Sharala was a warm, soothing weight against his side; Adhi let the quiet wrap around him, listened to their shared silence, concentrating on the way Sharala moved against him as he breathed. He pressed a kiss into Sharala’s hair and felt him go still. Sharala turn slowly to meet his gaze, a small smile on his lips.
Adhi leaned in and kissed him where he waited, felt the way Sharala sigh against him. They took their time; Sharala licked gently at his bottom lip, coaxing Adhi into surrendering his mouth fully. He let Sharala wrap a hand around the back of his neck, tugging them both down until they were sprawled out against each other on the couch, still kissing slow and deep.
Adhi would have been content to spend the rest of their night like that–wrapped up in Sharala’s warm embrace, rediscovering the quiet thrill of having Sharala’s mouth on his own, of being on the receiving end of his undivided attention. He would have been content, having spent the whole day together, and Adhi would have gone to bed happy.
Then he felt Sharala shift underneath him, Sharala’s hard cock pressing against his thigh, and Adhi remembered two things:
One: Sharala was rarely content with a little, when he could have more.
Two: What Sharala started, he pursued until the end.
The realisation sent a jolt through Adhi’s own cock, and he groaned, pulling away for breath.
Sharala took that opportunity to latch onto Adhi’s neck, grazing his teeth gently along the skin under his jaw. Sharala’s hand slid down Adhi’s stomach, fingertips grazing the waistband of his pants.
“Yes?” Sharala murmured into his ear.
Adhi shivered, curling his fingers into fists where they rested. “Yes.”
Sharala hummed, a low, pleased sound. Adhi felt Sharala slip his hand beneath the waistband of Adhi’s trousers, fingers scratching lightly through the curls of hair there, making him groan. Sharala kept his touch light, teasing, until Adhi was canting his hips for more. Laughing softly, Sharala reached down and grasped Adhi firmly, jerking him off in slow, firm strokes. Adhi closed his eyes and lost himself in the sensation of Sharala’s touch, the scope of his focus narrowing down to the hands on his neck and cock.
They stayed like that for a time, Sharala coaxing soft sounds out of Adhi with every motion of his hand. Adhi felt frustration begin to creep in underneath his skin, as Sharala’s touch gradually went from ‘good’ to ‘not enough.’ He felt hot inside out, an itch for more skittering across him in a slow, rising wave.
Sharala pressed another kiss to the curve of Adhi’s ear. “Let’s go to bed.”
At first, Adhi wanted to protest; there was no reason they couldn’t continue right where they were. The couch was soft enough, if cramped, and there was nobody else in the house.
But Sharala gently pushed him back, until they were both sitting up, and some sense returned to him.
They couldn’t fuck on the couch, because they had an eleven-year-old daughter who napped there sometimes, when the days got hot and humid enough to warrant afternoon naps.
Adhi stood up, knees protesting–another reason to move things somewhere more spacious and gentler on his body. Sharala put both hands on his knees and pushed himself up with a soft grunt. When he caught Adhi looking, he grinned a little and took his hand. “Come on,” he said, eyes bright as he led them both in the direction of their bedroom.
They left the lights off, fumbling their way to the bed in the dark. Sharala bumped against the edge of bed with a soft “Oof”, and Adhi resisted the sudden urge to laugh, crowding Sharala against the soft mattress. Arms bracketing Sharala’s head, Adhi leaned down until they were kissing again, open-mouthed and hungry. Sharala cupped his fingers over the back of Adhi’s head, tugging him even closer, insistent.
He wanted Sharala to touch him again, wanted it so badly his skin was burning. Adhi leaned down to press kisses along the slope of Sharala’s neck, drinking in the the scent of his cologne and the soft gasps he made with each touch. Adhi mouthed briefly at the loops of Sharala’s earring, giving it a gentle tug before heading back down to scrape his teeth over the arch of Sharala’s collarbone. He pushed up Sharala’s shirt so he could kiss his way down Sharala’s chest and to his stomach. Adhi bit gently on the soft flesh there, listened to the way Sharala laughed, his fingers skipping lightly over Adhi’s back.
“Where are you going?” Sharala asked, tugging at his shoulder. “Come back up here.”
“In a minute,” Adhi said. He popped the button for Sharala’s trousers, tugging it low enough for him to lean over and wrap his mouth over the jut of Sharala’s hipbone. He felt Sharala twitch underneath him, fingers curling in his hair as Adhi sucked hard and fast on the sensitive skin there. He draped an arm over Sharala’s abdomen, keeping him in place even as Sharala groaned and writhed underneath him. When Sharala’s grip in his hair tightened, Adhi switched over to the other side, sucking another mark there.
Sharala groaned, bucking up against him. Adhi could feel the shape of Sharala’s cock against his neck, and was reminded again of how much he wanted Sharala’s hands on him.
“Adhi,” Sharala gasped. “Adhi, let me touch you.”
He pulled back, panting for breath. “Later,” he said, already tugging Sharala’s boxers down. Adhi wrapped one hand around Sharala’s stiff cock, stroked it a few times just to hear the way Sharala moaned for him. Adhi licked the tip of Sharala’s cock, tasting the salty precome that had gathered there, then opened wide and took him into his mouth.
Sharala yelped, and his grip on Adhi’s hair turned sharp with pain, but Adhi ignored it. He remembered what Sharala liked, knew it as intimately as his own desires by now. So Adhi watched his teeth and started sucking Sharala off nice and slow, giving him little, teasing flicks of tongue at the base of his cock, then up his length and over the tip, before working his way back down. He cupped his free hand around the curves of Sharala’s balls, rubbing them gently in the way he knew drove Sharala mad, and was gratified when Sharala shuddered.
In what felt like no time at all, Sharala was gasping out pleas and curses, his fingers twisting in Adhi’s hair and sending frissons of pain straight to Adhi’s own cock. Adhi groaned, his whole body aching with need.
“Enough,” Sharala gasped, tugging none-too-gently on his hair. “Get up here.”
Adhi pulled off, panting for breath. His face felt filthy, chin dripping with his own saliva, but he barely had time to try and wipe it off with his arm before Sharala was pulling him up, covering his mouth in another kiss.
Sharala groaned against him, licking the taste of himself out of Adhi’s mouth. Adhi let him have his fill, fisting his hands in the sheets so he didn’t touch himself.
“I want you to fuck me,” Sharala said. “Will you?”
Adhi’s cock twitched at the words, hips stuttering desperately before he could stop himself. “It’s been a while,” he began. “We can’t–“
Sharala shushed him with another kiss, one hand reaching for Adhi’s own. He wrapped his fingers around Adhi’s wrist, their bangles clinking against each other, guided it down between them, past his stiff cock, past his balls and going lower still. Sharala slid their fingers together along his hole, where he was already wet and waiting.
Adhi gasped, feeling dizzy with need. He pressed a thumb against Sharala’s slick hole, tracing his rim. “When did you–“
“Earlier,” Sharala said, pushing against his touch. “Will you fuck me?”
They were naked within seconds. Adhi couldn’t even remember what they’d done with their clothes, only that he now sat with Sharala’s thick, warm thighs on either side of him as he watched Sharala take his hand in his. He removed Adhi’s four bangles–one for each member of his family–and carefully placed them on the bedside table. Then Sharala held out his own arm, where his one bangle rested against his wrist, and looked to him.
Adhi traced the shape of it with his fingers, making one full circle, and before taking it off and adding it to the stack next to them.
Sharala inhaled deeply, and reached over for the lube. When Sharala finally touched him again, coating his cock generously, Adhi had to squeezed his eyes shut against the sensation; it had been so long since they had done this. Why had they waited so long to do this again? Sharala’s touch felt good enough to finish him, and it wouldn’t even be satisfying.
“Easy,” Sharala murmured, and wrapped his fingers against the base of Adhi’s cock in a vice grip.
Adhi yelped, falling forward against Sharala, grateful and frustrated all at once. He could hear his own ragged breathing as Sharala waited it out with him, neither of them moving as Adhi felt his climax slipping further and further away from him.
When his head cleared a little, he pressed a kiss into Sharala’s shoulder and reached for the lube.
“You don’t need to–” Sharala began.
“Let me,” he said, already reaching down between them. He found Sharala’s entrance, wet and waiting, and pressed one finger in easily. He pulled out and added another, teasing more than stretching, taking his time.
Sharala allowed this for what couldn’t have been longer than a few minutes before he grabbed Adhi’s wrist. “I’m ready,” he hissed.
Adhi removed his hand, and pressed Sharala down until he was flat on the mattress. He braced himself up on one arm and pushed in slowly, listening to Sharala’s shuddering breaths, until he was surrounded by him completely.
He took a moment to breathe, to really savour how long it had been since they last had this. Adhi stroked one hand down the length of Sharala’s stomach, along the soft skin of his inner thigh. When he finally started to move, Sharala whimpered, a low, quiet sound, and his hand found Adhi’s hip, fingers digging into his skin.
Adhi moved, keeping his thrusts at a slow pace he knew would drive Sharala out of his mind. Sure enough, Sharala hissed under his breath, fingers digging into his hips.
“Go faster, damn it,” Sharala groaned.
Adhi leaned down to kiss him. Sharala responded by biting his lip which made Adhi laugh as he obliged, speeding up until Sharala released him with a gasp. Sharala’s hands dragged Adhi closer, his hips matching Adhi’s speed. He pressed their cheeks together, panting hotly against Adhi’s ear and sending full-body shudders down Adhi’s spine.
“Touch me,” Sharala demanded.
Adhi wrapped one hand around Sharala’s throbbing cock, and jerked him off fast. Sharala sank his teeth into Adhi’s shoulder, muffling a shout, and came all over his hand.
It was almost enough for Adhi–almost, but not quite. He held Sharala through the aftershock, but he didn’t stop moving. Sharala wrapped both arms around him in a crushing embrace. “That’s it,” he murmured, low and still hungry, and the sound of his voice sent a fresh wave of heat straight to Adhi’s cock. “Keep going. Don’t stop until you’ve come for me.”
Adhi cried out as he came apart, the force of it crashing through all thoughts and senses until he could feel nothing but the shuddering waves of his orgasm. Sharala murmured sweet nothings in his ear, stroking his back as Adhi shook helplessly in his arms.
As soon as the aftershock faded, a bone-deep exhaustion settled in. Adhi had enough presence of mind to roll off of Sharala, trying to gather his thoughts as his breath slowly came back to him. Tethering on the edge of sleep, Adhi was dimly aware of Sharala cleaning them both up, whispering words he couldn’t quite make out but felt deeply grateful for all the same. The bed shifted as Sharala settled back in next to him, and he felt Sharala press a soft, sweet kiss to the corner of his mouth. “Happy anniversary, my love,” he said.
Adhi tried to reply, but he was already drifting off, heart warm and content.