"Laissez les bon temps rouler,cher."
He lifted his glass of bourbon, squinting in the morning light. She was sweeping up the mess, beads and streamers, King Cake and confetti clumped together, the scent of beer and alcohol rising from the floor. She shot him a sideways glance, smiling slightly at his attempt at chivalry. She enjoyed having him around, liked to tease him with a slightly inappropriate remark, or by pressing her body ever so slightly into his. She liked the way he tried to pretend he wasn't interested, even though she knew from the way he pressed back as his open mouth followed the curve of her neck, that he was.
"You know, you could put that glass down and give me a hand with this. I want to get my ashes this morning."
He dropped the empty glass on the table, stretching his legs out on another chair.
"Ashes? Why do you still buy into that, Cher?"
She shrugged her shoulders and pushed back a stray strand of hair with a dainty gesture.
"Gotta believe in something. It helps get me through the lonely nights."
She looked over and smiled at him, a tantalizing invitation. He squeezed his legs together, enjoying the sensation, enjoying the view as she turned her back to him and bent over to scoop up the debris into a pan. He pulled himself to his feet, groaning slightly as he weaved unsteadily, never taking his eyes off her. He loomed over her, letting his hand press against the small of her back to catch his balance. He eased his hand down towards her ample bottom, caressing it with the reverence of a pilgrim before a saint. She began to shiver, loosing her grip on the pan and dropping it with a loud clatter. She cursed under her breath and bent to retrieve it; he pulled her upright and scooped her up into his arms, making his way towards the stairs. She sighed and laughed in exasperation.
"What are you doin', darlin'? I told you I want to get out of here and get my ashes."
He walked purposefully towards her room as a voice began to sing a haunting refrain outside, it's melancholy tune curling through the early morning air.
"Get 'em later. You might as well have something worth while to give up this Lent."
She began to laugh as she buried her head into his neck.
"What makes you think I can give you up, you wicked sinner?"