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He’s in a bad fuckin’ mood, when he comes barging through your door. Work was a pain in his ass, the world was a pain in his fuckin’ ass, and he’s pissed. So pissed in fact, that he’d be grinding his teeth if it weren’t for the damn cigarette he’s suckin’ down real fast. Sucking it down so he can jam another one right on after it between his lips, as he climbs the stairs of the walk-up to you.

It’s a Saturday, so he knows you’re home even though all the lights are off in the living room. Doesn’t look like the light’s on in the bedroom either, but he knows you’re home. You don’t like workin’ the Saturday shifts, Fish always gives you the day off to lounge around the apartment. Not that you could really do much lougnin’, not in that apartment; there was barely anything to lounge on.

It’s raining outside, and Pale’s pissed. Just absolutely pissed as he jams the key through your door, pissed and has his mouth open ready to bitch and complain about his day, ready to let it all out because you’re the only one who would ever listen – when he catches the smell of something that has him stopping in his tracks right at the front door.

“Pale?” Your voice calls, questioning and eager, from the kitchen.

If he listens close, he can hear sizzling, oil snap crackle popping on the stove – what the fuck were you doing cooking this late?

“Yeah it’s me, what’s it to ya?” He replies not unkindly, stepping out of his boots right there on the welcome mat, shucking off his wet leather jacket. You’d get ticked if he dragged slush and snow and freezing bitter rain into the place.

Not that it would bring the place down much, if he did.

“C’mere,” You say instead, and he listens, obeys, always – always for you.

You’re standing there in nothing but your underwear, tits out and everything right in the kitchen. Pale can’t help but feel glad that he paid your heat bill, glad they didn’t shut it off like they were fuckin’ fixin’ to. With how much he likes you bein’ naked and how much you like bein’ naked for him, he was sure you’d freeze your tits off if he hadn’t. But there in front of the stove, you’re toasty warm, swaying your hips to soft music that’s comin’ from the battery operated radio you keep on the counter.

You’ve got a small lamp on in the kitchen, not the overhead light or nothing. Pale likes it like that, he thinks. It’s too late for the harsh light of the overhead, too late for any of that bullshit. He’s confused for a minute when he sees a random cup of water on the floor, goes down to pick it up only for a drop of water to smack the back of his neck as he bends.

He squints up at the ceiling and sees water leaking through something in the paneling, the rain finding its way in. He frowns, but leaves the cup be. You’ve got the blinds up for the window that faces the street, and sitting on the windowsill is a fancy-lookin’ candle-stick holder.

Once upon a time you told him it was called a menorah, but he didn’t really know what that meant. He still doesn’t, but you’re standing in your underwear smiling at him with your hair clipped back, while you flip crispy disks of shredded potato in hot oil that splatters onto your skin. Pale has to bite back a comment on how fucking good you look.

“What’re you doin’ sweetheart?” He asks instead, lights up a new cigarette and steps behind you, wraps his arms around your middle.

You shimmy a little, settle back against him, don’t wince or nothin’ when the oil catches Pale’s wrist, when he yanks his hand away with a hiss. You only laugh a little, grab it with your own and bring it up to your lips for a kiss.

“First night of Hanukkah, I told you didn’t I?” You say, fishing the potato pancakes out of the oil, setting them on a plate that’s lined with paper towels.

He frowns again as you take the cigarette out of his mouth and flick the ash for him so he don’t have to loosen his hold on your body. He takes advantage of his free mouth to smack a big loud kiss to your cheek.

“No.” He lies, but it’s a bad lie, and you see through him with a huff of gentle laughter.

“Well I’m makin’ dinner.” You say, sprinkling coarse salt on top of the food fresh from the oil, and before Pale can even make a single fuckin’ comment you’re rolling your eyes. “I know I know – you’re the chef. But tonight is my night, okay? If you don’t like it you can make something for yourself later.” You turn to throw an eyebrow over your shoulder, and Pale quirks a grin.

“Shit smells fuckin’ fantastic.” He says, kissing you.

It’s the first fuckin’ time he’s kissed you all day and that somehow makes him feel more fuckin’ high than the coke he snorted right as he left work. That buzz is all but gone now, his skin clammy from the sweat and the frigid rain that stuck to his clothes as he made the run from his parked car to your door.

It’s the first fuckin’ time he’s got his hands on you, big palms spanning your tits, giving them a squeeze. He likes the way your shoulders curl in when he does that, the way you try and make yourself more manageable for him. You were the least manageable person, and Pale loved you for it, fuckin’ loved you.

He doesn’t say it, but he loves you.

It’s okay, you know.

He’s kissin’ you and the oil is sizzling, but you’re an angel and you reach behind your back to flip the dial on the stove to off.

Pale groans in the back of his throat as you walk to the counter, hoist yourself up onto it. Your ass nudges the radio a little, and the signal goes staticky for half a second as it gets jostled. Pale wondered all the time what kinda music you listen to, and he doesn’t know if this is the shit you listen to all the time, but it’s real smooth. He doesn’t hate it.

What he hates is not getting’ himself all the way buried inside you – so that’s what he sets out to work on. You’ve got the fuckin’ head start, and he makes it easy by slipping your panties off of your hips, lets them fall to the floor. He licks a stripe up between your tits, buries his face in your cleavage and takes a deep breath in as he unbuckles his belt.

You’re grinnin’, he can tell, can tell by the way your hands both come round to cup the base of his skull, the way your nails scratch along his scalp, how they twine in his hair as you push his face closer and closer. He thinks he might just die, if he doesn’t get his dick in you, so he doesn’t fuckin’ bother with getting’ naked, just lets his jeans drop enough that he can fish out his cock and line himself up real nice.

He’s already hard, because of fuckin’ course he is. How could he not be? Look at you – like, just fuckin’ look at you.

He yanks your hips close to the edge of the counter, slides in with a strong thrust that has your knees turning to jell-o around his waist.

“Shit (Y/N) this pussy’s tight.” He hisses, and he almost bites his cigarette in half from how good it feels to have your cunt clench around him.

“Pale – !” You gasp for him, leaning back on your elbows, taking the cigarette with you and stubbing it out in the ashtray that really oughta be cleaned out.  “Ow, fuck.”

You smack your head on the cabinet, and Pale’s reaching over to kiss you to apologize for it, even though it wasn’t his fuckin’ fault the cabinets jutted out too far. You didn’t have enough counter space, but you knew that, he wasn’t about to ruin the mood by pointin’ it out.

He kisses you and lets his hips do the work as he chases that sweet rush of your sex. You’re laid out on the counter as best as you can, and he’s gotta close his eyes because otherwise he’s gonna start sayin’ all kinds of sentimental bullshit; bullshit about the way your smile is somehow so bright in the dark. 

It ain’t so dark, he thinks, not when you’re there.

“Say it,” He asks, demands, and you’re already nodding, already know what he wants.

“I’m yours, your whore, fuck your whore Pale.” You tell him all breathy-like, and he groans, shoves his face in the crook of your neck and sweats there.

He don’t fuck you crazy hard or nothin’. It ain’t gentle, no way, but it ain’t crazy neither. He’s got a nice steady pace and worries your nipple between his teeth, licks and sucks at it before switching to the other one so it don’t get jealous. You’ve got your claws dug into the silk of his shirt real deep, and if he weren’t so drunk off your cunt he’d be angry about it.

But when he fucks you, he finds he ain’t so angry about anything.

You come before he does, he can always tell. The way your face scrunches up, the way your head tips back, the way your mouth drops open, the way you squeeze his cock so tight that it always makes him come right after.

So he does, shoots his load inside you and thinks if nothin’ else, he’s warmin’ you up from the inside on this chilly night. He comes with a grunt in your ear, lets his hips still as he empties himself right into your cunt, his vision melting into stars and splotches.

You don’t even give him a chance to pull out, chest still heaving and sticky with sweat, before you reach over and pluck a potato pancake off the little platter. He wonders where you even got so many serving dishes – he’s cooked in your kitchen before, he knows you ain’t got much.

“Try one – careful it’s still real hot.” You say even though your hair is clingin’ to your pretty cheek as you hold the thing up to his lips, pickin’ up a conversation that never really started.

He eats it though, and it’s fucking delicious, exactly what he’s craving even though he didn’t know he was even cravin’ nothin’.

You’re like that, he thinks, very much like that all the time.

“How long you been cookin’ today?” He asks as he rolls his hips against yours, his cock still pulsing come into you, making you moan and squirm even though the bliss of orgasm has already started to fade.

“Couple hours, nothin’ too crazy. I waited for you to do the candles.” You say, carding your fingers through his hair. He don’t mind that you’re a lil greasy – fuck, when isn’t he greasy enough himself? All that means is you’ll wash his hair in your leaky tub later. He don’t mind.

“How come?” He asks though, looks at the menorah on the windowsill.

There’s two candles, one in the middle and one on the far right, but neither are lit.

“I dunno. Just thought it might be something nice to do together.” You shrug with a soft smile, and even then, even still, he doesn’t pull out of you.

Eventually though, you gotta get up. Gotta use the bathroom, get cleaned up. Your back starts to hurt bein’ up on the counter and he can’t have you hurtin’, not tonight. Not any night, for that matter.

When you come back from the bathroom you’re in a new pair of underwear, and he can already see the splotches and crescent bites on your perfect tits, soft light from the world outside mixing with the rain dripping down on the glass and through the ceiling casting funny shadows on your skin.

You say a prayer in a language Pale doesn’t know, say another one. He doesn’t know what you’re saying, but he feels it, feels the importance of it. Pale strikes you a match, and with it you light the middle candle, pick that one up and use it to share the fire for the candle on the right.

The candles take a second to figure themselves out, flames jumpin’ wild wild wild, but then they settle, and the wax starts to drip right onto the windowsill. You don’t give a shit, and neither does he, not tonight.

Through the rain, he can see yours ain’t the only menorah that’s lit. So many windows are glowing, soft orange which cuts through the darkness. It’s beautiful, he thinks, the way that solidarity, that history is shared. He wonders if the sight gives you hope, with all the bullshit that goes on sometimes in the world. He wonders if all the candles give everyone hope, another year of light, another year of makin’ it through.

Sometimes it was just enough to make it through, wasn’t it?

“You know, I had a real bad fuckin’ day today.” Pale says, disturbing the quiet. He’s got his arms around your middle, the two of you standing in the tiny fuckin’ kitchen in your tiny fuckin’ apartment. You rest your head on his chest, let him kiss at your temple. 

“I nearly beat the shit out of a punk today for even lookin’ at me the wrong way, almost took my goddamn tire iron out. I’m out of fuckin’ cigs because of how bad of a day it was, can you believe that? Smoked through two packs and half a thing of blow before showin’ up here. But I swear when I walked through your door I forgot just about all the bullshit. I don’t know how you do that, you know? How the fuck do you just make everything fuckin’ vanish like that? – You were right.” He ends his speech abruptly. 

“Hm?” You ask, as the two of yous look into the small pricks of fire.  

“This was nice.” He says, kisses you again, and you smile, bury yourself in his embrace a little more.

Once, a long time ago you had said that neither of you might not have much in the way of having your shit together, but at least you had each other.

And you’re right, he thinks, you’re right.

You’re right when you said, that that’s gotta count for something.