[Working Title]

The bars of the gilded birdcage were so thin as to feel impossibly fragile against the press of her fingers. The lone inhabitant, a tiny finch of exotic and unfamiliar plumage, eyed her warily from its perch.

Across the room from her, he pretended to tend his orchids, his fingertips tracing down the deceptively strong stalk of one of the flowers as he watched her sidelong. Shying away from his furtive glance, and having been caught looking herself, she glanced down to find her own fingers were still detectably flushed from the lingering heat of passion. Still able to feel the weight of his eyes on her body, she drew the loose folds of her dressing gown more tightly around herself, tucking a smile she was unable to repress into the shelter of her shoulder.

A second later he was beside her, sliding his warm hands around her hips to undo her grip on the material.

"Stop." his voice pressed against her throat, an insistent purr just above a whisper. "Why do you always hide from me?"

Turning into his arms as the robe fell open so she could press her naked breast against his skin , she caught the line made by his clavicle between her teeth for a second, grinning against the inside of his shoulder.

"Because it always feels like the first time, with you, and I'm never sure what you think of me."