He wasn’t expecting to see her at the party, but perhaps he should have known: they broke up only a week before New Year’s Eve, and they haven’t yet told their mutual friends. She spots him at the same time as he spots her, and – with a rueful smile – she makes her way over, drink in hand.
“Awkward, huh?” she says.
He shrugs. “I don’t know.” He looks around. “It’s only awkward if we make it awkward.”
“Yeah.” She hugs one arm to her side with the other. Chews her lip. “Listen, sorry about… doing it by text. You know. I was with my family. You were with yours. I couldn’t get the time to even call you. And then… I don’t know. It was all too much. I had to tell you. Couldn’t keep it… you know… bottled up anymore.”
“It’s fine,” he says, although it’s not really fine at all. Seeing her – she with whom he has shared such intimacy – be shy to him, be abashed and apologetic to him… it doesn’t feel right. He still remembers very clearly the feel of the delta of her cunt, the way it fitted so perfectly into the cup of his hand. It was only twelve days ago that last he touched her that way. “I understand. I knew it was coming. We weren’t…”
“Yeah. Things weren’t…”
They both struggle for words for a minute, and then he says. “Things weren’t right anymore.”
She nods. He nods. That’s a way of putting it. Things certainly weren’t right. He knows her well enough to know when she is fighting tears, and she is fighting them now, fiercely. There’s a lump in his throat too, but he swallows it. No good entering the new year weeping over the old one.
She sniffs. “Still. Bad timing isn’t it?”
“New Year’s Eve. Nobody to kiss when the clock strikes midnight.”
He laughs. She laughs. There is a silence between them, but it’s not awkward anymore. He finds himself examining the curves of her body within her dress. Her legs, clad in tights. Around the two of them the party moves like a roiling ocean, but they are perfectly still.
“I suppose…” he says.
“If it was the last time…” she says.
“Just for… you know… closure…” he says.
“We’ll be finished by the time the new year comes in,” she says.
“Yeah. New year. Clean slate. One last time this year and then as soon as midnight comes…”
“Then we move on.”
“Okay,” she says.
And he says, “Okay.”
And now that they have decided it is a race against what little time remains. There is nowhere private enough in the house, and so hand in hand, they spill out onto the beach. He can feel his heart beating, his breath rushing. This urgency – it’s like it was when they first started sleeping together. It hurts. He wants her that badly. He can tell from the look in her eyes that she’s the same.
Away across the cold, wet sand they find a spot up on the rocks, tucked away. The noise of the party is muted behind them, and there’s just the roar of the ocean and the night and the two of them. Everything cold. They shed their clothes, quickly, clumsily – her body is milk-white in the moonlight. Inside of him something is burning, urgent and bright, as though it knows it’s just about to be snuffed out. He pauses a moment, then reaches out to touch her. He cups her breast, squeezes. Sees her shudder – he thought he might never do this ever again. Then she’s kissing him and the roar of the ocean fills his head, seems to go right through him. He kisses back, violently, possessively. He presses his tongue into her mouth, his hand on the back of her neck. She moans. Her breath is his breath. Both of them groaning small, plaintive noises of desire.
He lowers her down onto the rocks. Wet and hard. He is on top of her, their bodies pressed tight together. His hand tangles into her hair. All the shapes of her, and the texture of her body and her mouth – it’s all still familiar, and he tries to drive that memory home as he kisses her, as his fingers find the wetness of her cunt – he tries to record it all, blaze it into his brain so that he won’t ever forget. His fingers slip in the slick folds of her skin and she arches her back, eyes pleading.
The sea crashes inwards, spraying them with saltwater. They are the only two warm things on the whole empty beach. He enters her. Pushes deep. She gasps into the crook of his neck, and maybe she says his name, but he isn’t sure. He holds her as he fucks her. Presses his forehead to hers and looks into her keen and wanting eyes and kisses her. She holds him tightly too. There’s such need in the way she touches him that it feels as though they are melting together – that they are and always have been one body, one person.
They finish together a few seconds before midnight. Still clutching each other as the fireworks go off, last warm throbs of orgasm shivering their skin. Whoops and cheers from further up the beach. Swaying music. Should old acquaintance… It is the new year. He holds her for a minute, panting, and then they part. The night is cold, but they glow with one another’s heat.
“Happy New Year,” he says. She replies in kind, and the pair sit naked on the rocks in the cold for a few minutes before they gather up their clothes, dress, and head back towards the party, each walking separately in the shifting sand.