It hadn't been happening for so very long, perhaps half as long as the two of you had been meeting to exchange books, papers, and ideas, but you greatly enjoyed kissing Laszlo Kreizler. It seemed he was finding it equally enjoyable, because when you arrived that afternoon he casually mentioned that all of his people were out on errands and would not return until the late evening. The two of you were alone in his house, and after a bit of the usual discussions had ended up alone even in his bedroom, where ostensibly he'd come to retrieve a book to lend you. As he turned to hand it to you, he moved closer, closer than was quite appropriate if anyone else had been around to see.
You were no longer concerned with appropriateness. Laszlo glanced down at your lips and the two of you fell into each other. You took a step toward the bed, reaching around him to place the book back on his nightstand, your face still a whisper away from his.
"Do you not wish to read it?" he asked quietly.
"Later." You raised your chin to look into his eyes intently. "My mind is occupied with other thoughts at present."
He looked at you for a moment, ensuring he had taken your meaning correctly. You did not break eye contact, and his left hand moved to your hip, pulling you even closer as you met for another kiss. You sighed, and as your mouth opened, his tongue found yours. You lifted your hands to his shoulders, then started to remove his jacket. Though he kept a hand on your waist, he pulled back, frozen in hesitation. Your arms fell from his shoulders.
"Are you not interested, then?" you asked, not meeting his eyes this time but studying the knot in his tie.
"I assure you that I am." He paused, his mouth opening and closing again. Laszlo Kreizler was not a man often caught searching for words. "I wonder, rather, if you will be interested in me."
You looked up at him then. "Has our present position not made my interest quite clear? Why should I not be interested?" He did not reply, but loosened his hold on your waist and looked over your right shoulder toward the corner with a pained expression.
You took a step back. "I do not often make myself vulnerable." As you said it, releasing the thought into the world, the uncertainty you were feeling turned to twists and knots in your stomach. "I do not know what the issue is here, but if you cannot make some answer to me for it now, you will not have the opportunity again." Your voice had started to shrill and you shook slightly.
His eyes flew to yours at that and he looked anguished. He held his mouth open again, unable to force speech. He walked past you toward the corner.
You did not want to lose him, but if you were to be laid bare, he must be prepared for the same. "Surely, with your penetrating insight into human behavior, you can discern that I am quite interested in you, Dr. Kreizler." You continued, your voice rising. "I stand here, at your bed, the two of us quite alone, and trust that you will ruin neither my reputation nor my spirit if I give myself up to you. I place my complete trust in your discretion and your... kindness. Will you not trust mine?" you pleaded.
"My arm!" he said suddenly, almost shouting it. He turned toward you as he spoke and stalked, agitated, back across the room.
"The right one?" you asked, reaching out to brush your fingertips over his right hand, hanging at his side. He flinched but did not draw away.
"Haven't you noticed its weakness?"
You looked up at him with a wry smile. "Is my power of observation not one of the things you like about me?"
He briefly met your eyes at that, a small smile on his own lips. "One of the things, yes."
"I had assumed it was an injury slowly healing, or badly healed."
"It is, but not a recent injury. It was significantly damaged in my childhood and did not develop hence," he said quickly.
"Does it hurt?" you whispered.
"Yes, at times. It often aches."
You moved again to take off his jacket, this time looking at him as your hands gripped the lapels, waiting for him to respond. He nodded, and you removed the coat, laying it across a nearby chair.
Without the thick material of the suit, it was easier to see that Laszlo's right arm was much thinner than his left, though the hands were much the same. You moved your hand up to his shoulder and he turned his face away but made no move to stop you as you ran your hand gently down the bad arm, feeling its small size and lack of muscular support. When you made it back down to his hand, you put your fingers through his.
"Is there any loss of sensation?"
"No," he answered quietly.
Your right hand moved up to his face, gently turning it back toward you. Reluctantly, he met your gaze once more.
"Laszlo," you said gently. You kissed him again, once, lightly.
He drew his hand away. "I am not a whole man. I don't have the strength that others do, to protect a woman, or to... support a body's weight."
"I do not require brute strength, Laszlo. There are other types of strength which are much more important. Strength of mind. Of character. Of will. All these you possess in abundance. And I suspect you are capable of more than you give yourself credit for."
He stared at you now, his body tense and his breathing fast. Suddenly the tension snapped and he grabbed your face in his left hand, kissing you hungrily. Unconsciously now, his mind lost in eagerness, his weak hand rose slightly and found your hip. He felt you smile into the kiss and realized what he had done.
"See?" You said.
His good hand went to your waist, undoing the simple skirt you had worn that day. You began unbuttoning his shirt as your skirts slid to the floor. He undid his own trousers as you worked the buttons of your shirtwaist. You stood in your chemise as he drew back the coverings on the bed. He raked his eyes over you and you felt exposed but made no move to cover the shape of your body, highlighted by the thin material. You took a step closer to him and the bed, but did not get in. You looked at him, waiting, and then he laid down first, settling against the pillow. Now you climbed onto the mattress and straddled him, your chemise rising up your thighs as you sat on your knees and recklessly undid your hairpins. It would be impossible to put it back into a similar style by yourself, but you relished the look on Laszlo's face as the curtain of your hair fell around him and you began kissing him again.
He entered you and the pressure built uncomfortably for a moment until he started moving, you matching the rhythm of his thrusts after a few seconds. The two of you dissolved into each other, sharp minds giving way to soft bodies. But before you lost yourself completely, you felt the magnitude of the moment, two guarded people trusting each other, and you felt the pressure of both his hands against your body, and you moved to whisper in his ear, "Every part of you is enough."
You lay half on top of him when it was finished, your hand on his chest and your legs and the sheets intertwined. His weak arm rested again on your hip as his other hand stroked through your hair.
"Well, Dr. Kreizler? What does the evidence tell you?"
He raised an eyebrow at you.
"You seem quite contented,"--he gave a small laugh--"and I am as well. What conclusions do you draw?"
He wouldn't say it.
"What conclusions?" you insisted.
"That you may, after all, be interested in a man like me." His weak hand flexed on your hip. "That I might satisfy your needs." His left hand gently cradled your head.
"You are exactly the man I need you to be."