Perfect. Beyond perfect. Was there a word beyond perfect? A word for every cell in her body singing? It might be easier to compose something on the harp than try to explain this feeling in words.

Where to start…

It was difficult even to begin; she was still more than half asleep. A trail of weight and warmth on her back and side- that was his arm. And raking across her scalp oh, so gently, his claws parted yellow curls and sent waves and ripples of what she could only call love through her skin. Sometimes his large hand lifted up, and came down again to pat her hair gently, as if she were a little cat. She was almost purring. Was that noise coming out of her? Or was that her sleepy imagination? Not that it mattered. Her pillow was soft, and warm, and his shirt was hiked up over it. She could feel him breathing. During fleeting moments of almost-consciousness, she would snuggle into it. Kiss kiss kiss. The arm beneath her glanced over his lap and curled around a burgeoning lovehandle. The other arm came up onto his upper belly. Palm flat, fingers splayed- with this one hand she could feel the beautiful contour of it. Sometimes she caressed it, slowly, softly. Her legs were laid out along the empty half of the sofa, hanging off the edge at the ankle.

If her eyes fluttered open, for a few fractions of a second at a time, she had the most marvelous view. Simply breathtaking.

Honestly, it was all just as good with her eyes closed.

Who cared if there was a word for this? Maybe she would write a song to it. It would be like angels in chorus. Everyone would ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh.’ People would ask, ‘what do you call this gorgeous piece of music?’ And she’d say, ‘Sleeping On Shannon’s Tummy.’

But now she was awake. Bouncing, jostled- what exactly-? After a second her brain caught up with reality and connected this quaking with the high pitched hyena noise just above her: he was laughing.

"You were talking in your sleep," he said.

Your Daily Tummy Worship

Wednesday evening.

She is taking her turn making dinner. While boiled potatoes are being vigorously smashed, there is a little buzzing noise on her person. A rectagular patch of light shines through her shirt, where her phone is tucked into her bra. Once she’s destroyed the potatoes, she pulls it out and checks the message. Her sister is across the kitchen, whetting her appetite with a handful of oreos.

Arabella watches her sister’s face light up with a big, dopey grin.

When the older girl’s back is turned, checking on something in the oven, she snakes a long arm across the dining room table to grab what her sister has carelessly left lying out. Silently, she unlocks the phone with the passcode she’s known for the last week and a half, and checks the latest message.

It’s from “Guapísimo.” She doesn’t know what that means, but she knows who it is. And if she didn’t before, she would have once she opened the message: it’s a selfie of Shannon. Part of Shannon, anyway. His (shockingly distended) stomach. The skin is even flushed slightly green. How is he standing up for this photo?

“You’re so weird,” she says, giving herself away. Anna smacks the phone out of her hand with a wooden spoon and chases her out of the kitchen with it. Then changes the code. Again.

Thursday morning.

She fell asleep after three AM with her feet propped up on the wall and a large, old, hardcover romance novel sitting in her lap, against her thighs. The sound of her phone buzzing finally wakes her: it is almost noon. Her pillow has fallen off the edge of the bed and her legs have slid down the wall. The book has toppled face-down onto her stomach. She could have slept for a few more hours, probably (who was she kidding, she could sleep until next Christmas), but she doesn’t mind. Giggling, she answers his text message.

She’s set yesterday’s selfie as his contact photo. Just for a little while. She’ll change it back once she emerges for breakfast. Lunch. Whatever.

Friday afternoon.

She empties the large tote she usually uses for the beach or groceries, and they manage to sneak an entire cheesecake into the cinema. Half the reason was just to see if they could, the other half was why not? He ends up eating the last 2/3 of it at once before the usher catches them. By some miracle, she keeps herself from laughing until after he’s passed them by. She leans over; her hand finds it’s way beneath his shirt.

Saturday night.

The munchies. They’ve spent untold ages in this weed cloud, giggling at things that make sense only to them and stuffing each other’s faces with everything they can reach. They’re at his place, so after awhile, everything friendly to a human digestive system has been consumed. He keeps eating. This is fine by her. She keeps feeding him. They have been watching the dvd menu for the last twenty minutes and neither of them has noticed yet. She tries to explain to him how utterly cute he is, and ends up just kissing his belly.


A drive to the beach. Anna comes home with a mild sunburn and a lot of pictures on her phone. At least half are of nothing but him with his shirt off in various poses.

Monday afternoon, late.

She is stuck in a very, very, very long queue. She gets bored of Angry Birds very quickly and ends up texting him. They message each other about food back and forth for so long that she forgets she’s waiting for anything and has to be called for twice when it’s finally her turn.

Tuesday night.

Anna’s phone goes off as she’s pulling a spoonful of strawberry ice cream very slowly out of her mouth. She opens the message as another chunk of frozen pink disappears. The spoon doesn’t reemerge. Her eyes go glassy.

{{Rule 63 Gatitanegra///drabble}}

At the sound of his phone buzzing a text alert against the thin basement carpet, Eamonn put down his guitar. The photo that had popped up was of a gray-green claw with the middle digit extended, a lit cigarette hanging from between the fingers. It blocked out the face, but there was a bit of pointy ear and green headscarf.

[12:47 pm]: how close are you

He typed out his reply with one thumb.

[12:47 pm]: close to whhere? im in the basemrnt

Another buzz. Three in a row this time.

[12:48 pm]: the park
[12:48 pm]: the one we were at a few days ago
[12:49 pm]: youre at home good youre close by get over here now it is an emergency

Sitting up with a start, he took the phone in both hands. His reply was typed out much faster this time: with her, an ‘emergency’ could mean anything. Literally, anything.

[12:49 pm]: jesus christ r u ok

Her reply arrived when he was pulling a hoodie over his head on the way out the door. With his mother’s car keys in one hand, he fished his phone out of his pocket again.

[12:51 pm]: i will be ok when you get here just come ok i’m on the bench you know that same one

Sighing loudly, and hoping there wouldn’t be any green bloodstains waiting for him on the fucking park bench when he arrived, he started up Mum’s Volvo and took off.

The wind was cold, but the sun was bright and warm. Eamonn squinted, wishing he’d grabbed sunglasses. He sent out another text, but before he got an answer he spotted his friend, lying stretched across the seat with one arm over her face. No blood of any kind to be seen, but there was a greasy white paper bag on the ground immediately before her.  So what was the emergency? He saw his text message arrive: her phonescreen glowed beneath her top, where it was shoved into her bra.

"Don’t bother babe," he called as he jogged over, "it’s me."

He got no answer but a groan. When he arrived, he stood over her awkwardly for a moment.

"What’s… going on, exactly?"

"The sun came out."

He lifted his eyes to the sky, still squinting.

"Yes…" He looked down at her again, then lifted her arm away from her face. "You’re wearing your sunglasses. So what’s the problem?"

"It’s still too bright. It’s giving me a headache."

"Sherman. You could get up and walk away."

"No," she whined, "I’m too full to move. Carry me."

"You’re too f- Jesus. That’s not an emergency. You had me worried. Bloody Christ. I would have come anyway, okay? You didn’t have to call it an emergency. For fuck’s sake, you didn’t even call it an emergency when you cut your arm open."

"Whatever, just get me out of the sun. Also they accidentally gave me a cheeseburger and I ate it. WHY DOES CHEESE TASTE SO GOOD, EAMONN? WHY? Ugh. Carry me somewhere and give me a tummy rub."

His head fell back, and a sigh turned into a laugh. He bent down, tossing the empty McDonald’s bag into the trash bin. Then he knelt at her side, hooking one arm beneath her knees. As he slid the other around her shoulders, he kissed the top of her head.

"Sure, loveydove. Anything you want. Hang on to me, ok? And warn me if you’re going to toss up."

"I won’t."

Her arms went, a little limply, around his neck, and he lifted her up. With her dense musculature, she was heavier than she looked- but he knew that by now. He was pretty strong himself- carrying her wasn’t much trouble. He found another bench- this one in the shade- and sat down, arranging them so that he was sitting at a slight angle on the end, and she was leaning against him. Winding his arms around her, he made good on his promise.

"I’m going to be gray before I reach twenty five," he said as his large hands swept in slow circles over her stomach. "And it’ll be your fault."

"But you won’t be mad at me."