by Tari Gwaemir
"This red, red moon."
Their first night, she did not close the sliding doors, but left them parted to allow a finger's width of moonlight to fall into the room, illuminating the bright crimson edge of her kimono. The hem touched the floor, tracing along it like a pool of blood. He watched it weave back and forth following the arches of her feet, which stepped to some invisible pattern.
She raised one arm, letting a long sleeve fall back from the white line of her wrist. In her other hand, a fan opened, fold by fold, a curve to hide her face, except for her dark, unreadable eyes that glanced at him sideways. His breath caught; he leaned forward. She seemed unrecognizable, this frozen silhouette, elegant, impenetrable. He wanted to lower the fan from her half-hidden face, but held himself still.
She slid a foot forward; he saw the barest trace of a slender ankle. She tilted her head; he glimpsed the elaborate arrangement of her hair. She arched her arm toward the ceiling; he watched the sleeve fall inch by inch exposing soft, luminescent skin. He could hear his heartbeat, loud and ragged against her silence.
One step, two--the fan fell. He rose to his feet and embraced her before she could slip back into intangible mystery. Her tense body, solid and warm, in his arms.