He sat on the edge of the bed, naked, a cigarette held loosely between two fingers. Early morning sunlight shone brightly through the window, and the smoke from his cigarette spiraled upward along a shaft of light, as though seeking the source.
He took a drag and exhaled slowly, letting the smoke wreathe his face. He finally put the cigarette out in a battered ashtray next to the bed. He'd been holding it more than smoking it, lost in thought and bitter longing.
She was gone.
He lay back on the bed. He could still smell her scent, mingled with the smells of stale sheets and old mattress. He inhaled deeply, hoping to capture that essence of her so he would never forget it. There was so much he wanted to remember, so much he knew he'd forget as the memories of her faded and others more vibrant took their place.
Last night had been the last time. The last time he'd see her perfect body, laid out naked before him. The last time he'd taste her lips, her sweat and the sweet tanginess of her sex. He would never feel her hair between his fingers, or her nails across his back. Never feel the warm tightness of her as he slipped between her legs, or the soft roundness of her breasts in his hands.
Never again. For last night was the last time for each of them. Neither of them had wanted it, but both knew it was unavoidable. They cried when they came (together, as they always did) and held each other afterward, weeping until sleep took them.
When he woke, she was gone. She'd told him she would be the night before. She wanted to go to them, rather than making them come to her. That way, she'd reasoned, he would remain unknown to them. At least until his own number came up. He had wanted to run when she got her notice. He'd brought her to this grimy old hotel as a prelude to their escape. But she would have none of it. She knew her duty. She was a patriot.
He rose from the bed finally and dressed, making his plans as he did so. They would be together again, in a way they never had before.
He walked out, tossing the key to the old man behind the desk in the lobby as he left the hotel. She would be a few days in processing, he thought, crossing the street. It had begun to drizzle, and he flipped up the hood of his sweatshirt. After that, he figured, allow a few days for transport and she should make it into the food supply some time next week.
Then it was a simple matter of eating a meal, and timing his suicide before his body could fully digest it.
And then they would be one, forever.