Jewels, expensive-looking heirlooms, some medicines and spirits. There was a thief in the area; Harry Moser’s wife had gotten a peek at him, and a rendering was put up on the town board.
He was handsome, if the likeness was true. A strong jaw, sharp eyes beneath a dark brow, bearded. The day of St. Valentine drew near, when any man or woman without the warmth of another body in their bed was a thing to pity. I’d gone five years without that joy, since my husband’s death, and I was damned by the sad cow eyes my fellows sent my way. To lie with a widow was taboo, moreso when she was young and childless, as I am.
My mother was one of then many who loved to recite the trite, “You can do anything you put your mind to,” and I was impressionable as a child. With her voice in my ear, colored slightly mocking and sing-song by my experiences, I put my mind to catching a thief.
T’was not difficult. The man on the board looked like no one I knew in our small town, and there were few places a traveller might stop before venturing on, as they did. I visited these places: the tavern, the merchants’ row, the pawn broker’s stall, and spoke loudly to my peers of my pearls, my silk skirts, my grandmother’s silver, and I left my window unlatched by night.
He did not come the night of the first day, nor the second. I despaired, I admit. A woman has needs, and mine have built steadily. I worried that I would be left to satisfy myself for the rest of my lonesome life, gasping in the dark on my own fingers. Most called my hands graceful, and usually I agreed, but in the dark their slenderness was hateful.
But I fretted for nothing. My thief was simply concerned with timing. The third day was Valentine’s Day.
I heard the old hinges shrill in my dreams, ringing through the fairytale rivers and fields, but slept on for the moment. He was elbow deep in my mother’s hope chest when I did wake, alerted by wind blowing my things off the dresser top in a noisy clatter. The thief whirled, cursing quietly, and my bed squeaked at my movement.
I didn’t speak, when he looked at me, eyes indistinguishable in the low light. I barely moved, heart beating in my throat.
That same wind caught the window, still hanging open. The hinges sounded again, that familiar sound echoing back strangely from my dreams, and it broke me from the spell. I beckoned to him.
He stood slowly, like a beast with its eyes trained on a hunter. I held my breast through my gown with a hand and shifted beneath the blankets, so the fabric dipped between my spread thighs. Still afraid to speak, wary that a sound might send him scurrying, I quirked my fingers again.
He did. Still slowly, moving gently, almost. The boards of my attic bedroom, in my poor husband’s old, creaking house, did not sound beneath his steps. His face was still shaded when he reached for me, but that only made the first touch sweeter.
My thief was who I wanted him to be, like that. As he ran a shaking hand into my hair, brought another down to join my own on my breast, he was a desert prince divesting me of my silken robe. As he settled on the edge of my bed, warmth and solidity at my side, he was an immoral brother, tempted and desperate. As he lowered his mouth to my neck, trailed his fingers down my belly, he was husband. He drew my gown up my legs and was Saint Valentine himself.
But when he took his tongue to my skin and his fingers, hardened by larceny, quickened, delved where I was most eager, he was a thief broken into my home in a moonless night.
He was invited.
I took him into my body and allowed him to do as he might. He was nearly silent, moving over me that night, sighing only when I squeezed him, when I rolled my hips. I myself was noiseless, used to hushing myself lest my neighbors overhear and whisper.
His stretch was delicious after so long, a deep ache where I wanted it. I held him flush to me to delight in the weight of him. The crush of my lungs, the slight pain in my breasts was my body reawakening, answering his sweat, his skin.
And I held him firm as he spent himself in me, brought him so close his cock pressed, blunt, to my womb. His seed was life, was warmth that spread through me from my deepest place, and he became my love.
He had left me, come light, but that was not the last night my window’s alarm pierced my dreams.
Inspired by: To Catch a Thief by Lovage.