She walked past him, the sound and sight and smell of her deliciously suffocating. She extended the first two fingers of her hand as she passed, and he felt the pads of her fingers trace along his lips. They felt hot on his lips. One finger popped inside his mouth, and a fingernail clicked musically against his teeth.

Then they were gone. She walked toward the lake, across the asphalt, gently stepping over the curb and when her feet touched the sand, he heard the soft pop! pop! pop! of buttons. A V of peaches-and-cream skin appeared as the heavy bodice opened and then slipped off her shoulders and over her waist. She wore nothing beneath it.

Slowly, he rose from the hood of his car, ignoring the fiery flare of pain in his knee, and followed her across the lot and onto the beach.

She didn’t turn toward him, although his feet crunched loudly in the sand. She must have known he was there. She hooked her fingers into the waist of her dress and performed a complicated series of twists and tugs without glancing down.  Then her dress grew slack and curled into the sand as well, forgotten. Now there was just skin. A tapestry of smooth, unblemished skin, glowing like liquid satin.

He walked harder and faster in the sand to catch her. While he didn’t notice the pain in his knee, it knew him and his leg started stiffening worse than the Tin Man in salt water.  But the knee belonged to another person, at another time. Right now, it was just HER.

She marched across the sand, now only yards from the lake. Chilled air blew over the water, billowing the ribbony thickness of her hair.

“Wait…wait,” he whimpered. “I can’t keep—“ His voice had rose into a reedy whine. Self-possession, be damned.

She took the last step and one foot plimped into the cold, frothing water of Lake Michigan. She raised both arms and threw her head back, her hair a waterfall between her shoulders and down her back.

Now he just flat out ran in the sand, reaching out one desperate arm. Even the tiny, fluttering muscles in his fingers yawned toward her. Just before he reached the wet line of sand, his knee gave out like a thrown rod.

One moment chugging along just fine, the next moment the world’s largest paperweight. No pain, just a joint that no longer worked. He tumbled hard into the sand, his face grinding into grit and pebbles. he hadn’t even lowered his hands to stop his fall.