"Always and Never"
They always go to Jack's apartment. Although Sydney is frequently away, the apartment she and Nadia share is off-limits for these liaisons. Nadia knows this without ever having to ask.
They never drive there together. It might be safer if they did: easier to explain being seen in Jack's car than it would be to explain why her car was parked near his apartment building all night. But she needs to be able to leave at a moment's notice, both because of work and for other reasons. So she drives to his place alone when the day is done.
(They never discuss which nights, but somehow they always seem to agree.)
They never touch before they go into his bedroom. While they're in his living room, they're just friends. Jack pours them drinks; Nadia relaxes on the sofa. They always talk for a while first. For the first month, this was awkward small talk, but their conversation has deepened since then. Even the topics that ought to be forbidden (Sydney's welfare, her father's motives) creep in, from time to time. Jack's surprisingly easy to talk to, and though his confessions remain halting and rare, he's begun making them. The only matter they never discuss is why she's there, why he needs her there.
She always walks into the bedroom first. Nadia thinks this is Jack's way of atoning for the fact that she must come to him; when is always her choice, her call. Sometimes she walks in and turns on a single lamp, but most of the time she leaves it dark. For some reason, darkness intensifies the experience. Perhaps they are both more uninhibited when they still feel that something remains secret.
He always undresses her. Jack likes to do it, finds it erotic – the slip of a zipper, the slide of bra straps, even the unbuckling of her shoe. Nadia never much cared about this part of it before, but she has now become a convert to his taste and revels in every layer as it falls.
(She always remembers him when she's shopping, these days; sometimes she buys outfits thinking only of how good it will be when Jack takes them off.)
When making love, there is no always or never between them. They are unpredictable partners, and Nadia is sometimes astonished at Jack, sometimes at herself. Some nights he is tender, she ardent, and they move together in slow, liquid heat for what feels like hours, kissing so gently that each touch is only a whisper against her lips. Other nights, they are rough, even violent; Jack has taken her on the floor, hands so tight around her neck that she could scarcely breathe, and Nadia has gloried in it, begged him to do it again and harder.
They always hold one another afterwards. They never talk while they do so, sheltering instead within the unspoken. The silence after each time is what makes the next time possible, so Nadia treasures that most of all.