Caitriona lit the last of several candles on their kitchen table and blew out the match. A thin line of smoke curled away from the bright flames. She was setting the table for dinner, as well as preparing for the loss of power. The news reported Capetown would get a large tropical storm that night and following morning and all shooting for the next day was cancelled.
She and Sam made arrangements, going grocery shopping with their cast mates and colleagues, as well as picking up other provisions: wine, candles, and…Sam ran off for a secret errand that he refused to share with her. He said it was a spooky surprise and promised he’d fill her in soon enough.
The sky was already pitch black though it was still before sundown. A few small lamps illuminated the apartment along with the candles at the table. Caitriona was cooking up a tasty shrimp stir-fry on their (thankfully) gas stove while Sam was in the shower, readying himself for the night.
He entered the kitchen in a t-shirt and sweats, his hair damp and his body clean, “Mo chirdhe, that smells delicious.”
“Why, thank you dahhhling.” He kissed her neck and embraced her from behind, careful not to interrupt her focus on the shrimp and vegetables in the sizzling wok.
“Shall I open the wine?”
He left her and opened a bottle, the cork popping out with a satisfying plonk.
“Which did you choose?”
“The red. It’s more fitting.”
“For this spooky scary storm!” His accent was thicker for emphasis, and she giggled at his showmanship. He poured them both glasses and placed them on the table. “Are you afraid?”
The question wasn’t sinister but Sam was grinning like a wicked Jack-O-Lantern as she came towards him with two steaming plates of food.
“No. The only things that scare me are small with lots of legs.”
“No ghosties or ghoulies, then?”
“No, I’m not like you!”
“We canna control the forces of the universe. They are bigger than we ken…” He dug his fork into a broccoli floret and attempted a nibble before continuing, suddenly serious, “I heard that there was a murder on the floor of this building.”
Caitriona stopped and studied him, trying to discern if he was lying. “When was this?”
“A few years ago. The doorman was telling me about it. Said it was a lover’s quarrel and the woman stabbed her boyfriend to death.”
“Hmm…sounds terribly scandalous.” Caitriona took a gulp of her wine and continued watching him closely, waiting for him to get to the point.
“He said there are stories from tenants waking up to dark puddles of blood on the floor, but when they turn on the lights, there’s nothing there…”
Despite her distrust, she was starting to get spooked.
“That’s why I chose the blood red”, he held up his glass to the candlelight, “I thought it fit better with my story.” His grin returned as he took a sip.
“Sam! You are going to pay for this! That didn’t really happen, did it?”
“Maybe…” He winked and continued eating. “This is delicious.”
Caitriona had an idea, and hoped she’d get a chance to use it later. …………………………….
After they finished their food and cleared the dirty plates, Sam ran off to retrieve his surprise.
The rain was light, but it blew against the dark windows and the wind produced howling noises between the buildings. They still had electricity, for now.
Sam reappeared with small paper bag and handed it to her. “Thought this would be perfect for tonight…” She opened the bag and found a copy of “The Collected Poems of Edgar Allen Poe”.
Caitriona smiled, “How romantic and macabre of you, darling.” She kissed him and gently ran the fingers of her free hand along the soft, delicate pulse in his neck.
“I thought we could read them aloud. Something to do if we lose power.” He slid his hands down to her hips and pulled her to him, “Well, it’s one thing we can do…”
A loud rumble of thunder startled them. “We should enjoy the lights while they last, aye?”
Cait refilled their wine glasses and went to their bedroom to change into something more comfortable. She emerged in a thin t-shirt and a small pair of cotton shorts. Sam was already on the couch, having moved two candles and their wine glasses to the coffee table in front of him..
“Come” he patted the cushion next to him, “I’ve a poem for ye, mo leannan.”
“Mmmmm, do you now?” Caitriona sat and draped a blanket over them. Before relaxing back onto the pillows, she slid her hand under his shirt, feeling the hard muscles there. He gasped.
“Cait, your hands are freezing.”
“It is a bit chilly in here.” Actually, she’d run her hands under the cold tap in their bathroom before joining him. She could be creepy, too.
There was another rumble of thunder, followed by a crack and a barrage of heavy rain against their windows. A howl of wind came and then–the few lights they’d kept on vanished.
“It’s started…” Sam remarked, his face lit only by the light of the candles in front of them.
“Read me something! Can you see?”
“I can. Which should I pick..?” Cait was sitting with her legs over his lap and her torso against the side of the couch. The light blanket covered both their legs and made for a cozy, intimate atmosphere.
Sam cleared his throat,
“It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of Annabel Lee…”
He continued, his vowels smooth and his consonants sharp. His drama school teachers would be proud. Caitriona found herself taken by the sad tale and almost forgot how irritated she was with him for scaring her earlier. Almost.
When he finished she leaned over and kissed him, “That was beautiful. Can I read one, now?”
“Of course, mo chirdhe.”
“I’m going to read…” she paused to make a crude bird call.
“Nah…let’s find something less popular…” She flipped through the slim volume and selected a short poem titled “The Valley of Unrest”. She read it with a clear voice, discovering it along with Sam.
“They weep:—from off their delicate stems Perennial tears descend in gems. ”
When she finished, he reached his thumb to her bottom lip before leaning in to kiss her. She opened to him and he snatched the book from her and threw it to the floor. Within seconds he was on top of her, hungry for her flesh. He pressed her into the couch and his hands caressed her skin as they moved her t-shirt up towards her neck. Caitriona was pinned and losing track of her plan. His weight on her and his natural musk made her wet between her legs. She tried to press herself to him while thinking “Please let’s make it to the bedroom.” It was important that they did.
“Sam,” she panted. “Let’s get to the bed.”
He paused, looking up from her bare breasts and sighed, “Whatever you want.” He rose and offered his hand to help her up. She took it, and grabbed one of the candles from the table before they left the room.
“Blow out the other candle, love.”
He met her eyes as he blew it out, leaving them with nothing to see by except the candle in her hand. They maneuvered into the bedroom, Caitriona in front and Sam flush behind her with his fingers tucked into the back of her shorts.
Happy national Tabby day <3 my handsome boy was a rescue off the street. When he found him he was covered in blood with gashes across his head and back and two inches of his tail missing!! He’s been with us about two years now!! Love her!