My eyes flicker open and I can't help but take a deep breath, and grip my forearm between my thumb and my forefinger so a quick pinch of pain shoots into my skin, like an injection into my skin. Helps me remember that I'm not dreaming because I there's no way this is real.
She can't be real, right?
And this feeling can't be real, right?
I let my head roll to the side and I see her bare back, all tanned and peaceful. Rising up and down to the steady rhythm of serenity, tranquility incarnate. I put my finger on her back and let it run down her back.
She stirs and I can't help but laugh, just my luck.
It's cold outside but she wakes up warm, like she's lying next to a fire. Instead, she opens her eyes to find herself next to Alexander Calloway, the man she met at the bar last night. They're both naked and wrapped in Lucrezia's sheets and his hand is trailing down the outline of her spine.
She hears him laugh and he says in that soft, comforting voice of his, "I'm sorry, did I wake you?" Lucrezia turns over, strands of her hair following and flopping over her face. She moves her hair out of her face and smiles at him — she hopes this isn't too awkward. Lucrezia hasn't exactly hooked up with anyone in a while, simply because it always ends the same — an awkward exchange before they put their clothes back on and leave, or she wakes up alone. She shouldn't expect anything more this time around. "Don't worry about it," she says with a small yawn. "I probably would have woken up soon, anyway."
Just play it cool, she coaches herself. There's nothing awkward about laying naked with a man she hardly knows — nothing at all. (Who is she kidding?)
There's another confirmation, she speaks and she's real.
Brushing her hair out of her face, turning around and smiling; her face glows and she doesn't look annoyed in the slightest at me waking her up. She just glows and she smiles and she's real.
I already pinched myself, this is strange. "Don't worry about it," she says with a yawn. "I probably would have woken up soon, anyway." And I think that's kind of a relief even though I just met her yesterday, as if she hasn't just taken me into her castle and well--
I prop myself up on my elbows and run my hand through my hair. "Well, I suppose this isn't the worst thing to wake up to," I say, grinning. "Not exactly what you were planning I suppose?"
To her surprise, he doesn't enforce the awkwardness that Lucrezia is already beginning to feel. Right about now, she would be staring at the floor as her hookup dressed themselves, and then shyly saying goodbye as she covered herself with her sheets — as if they hadn't already seen everything.
But Alexander quickly breaks any tension Lucrezia felt by saying, "Well, I suppose this isn't the worst thing to wake up to." He smiles at her again and it is anything but awkward. She finds it rather warming and kind, but she tries not to get her hopes up. Hookups never turn into anything more than simply a hookup. "Not exactly what you were planning I suppose?"
Her mind flashes back to the bar, the two of them walking through the snow to the gondola that leads to the mountains, kissing in the castle halls. Sleeping with him wasn't planned, but she had made the decision the moment their lips touched for the first time. She knew where it was leading, and she presumes that he did, too.
"I guess I knew what I was getting into once we left the bar," she admits, running her gaze over his exposed torso and the line of his back. "Didn't you?"
It'd be so much easier to make conclusion on private and subjective thoughts than just simply guessing (Did she enjoy it? Does she want me to leave? Does she want me to stay?) because I'm terrible at guessing. I always get things wrong -- maybe that's why I don't hook up often. Not because my parents put emphasis on things that were more important than girls, but because I'm an idiot who isn't lucky enough to be able to read minds.
Still, every sentence of normality that comes from her lips is a relief to me; it reminds me I'm not dreaming as I should be. I never pay attention. "I guess I knew what I was getting into once we left the bar," I feel her gaze examining me, every inch of my exposed torso almost under scrutiny. We're not in the dark and we're not locked in passion, we're just together. "Didn't you?"
I nod my head, leaning back again and letting my mind wander. "Of course I did." Why else would I have come all the way here?
"Do you do this often?" I ask, leaning over as I absent mindedly run her hair through my fingers and watch it twirl like silk. "Because to be honest, I really don't," I look up, letting my eye lock with hers. "Is this the part where I'm supposed to get dressed and leave?"
Alexander just nods and says, "Of course I did." And she's glad he speaks so sincerely rather than looking down and blushing or just avoiding her gaze completely. He leans over and twirls some of her silvery hair around his finger, but she doesn't recoil. "Do you do this often?" he asks. "Because to be honest, I really don't."
So maybe he isn't that kind of guy. Maybe.
He looks up at her and their gazes lock; she feels heat flush into her face. "Is this the part where I'm supposed to get dressed and leave?"
She is silent for a moment, tracing over the planes of his face with her eyes and wondering why he isn't gone yet. Not that she necessarily wants him to leave, but most men would have by now.
"Not if you don't want to," she replies simply, trying to sound neutral above all else. She doesn't know how Alexander feels, so it is better to be guarded, she decides.
I swear, I could lose myself in that silver hair of hers.
The way it feels, looks and smells. I could just sit here, running it between my fingers and twirling it in my index finger. I could just stay like this, hands in her hair and eyes locked with hers -- I think I want to.
In another reality, maybe.
She's silent, so I take to keeping her hair entwined with my fingers because anything else would just feel wrong. And when she speaks, I'm broken from a trance all over again. "Not if you don't want to," she says, and just the tone of her voice invites the possibility of a thousand questions but too little time to answer.
My hand falls from her hair to her shoulder and I pull her closer, just a little bit and my voice sounds barely louder than a whisper.
His hand is on her shoulder now and he pulls her closer to him — she can feel the heat radiating off of his body, or maybe that's just her. His eyes are so wide and dark, the kind of eyes that she could just get so lost in. She is, for a moment.
"I don't," he tells her, his voice low and soft. She likes his answer, and the way it rolls so gently off his tongue. Lucrezia smiles at him and moves even closer so that their chests are pressed against each other. She puts a hand in his hair and leans in to kiss him, just as she did the night before.
She pulls away but keeps herself close to Alexander. "Then you don't have to leave," she replies. "You can stay for as long as you like." She wouldn't mind if he stayed all day, or even another night, not at all.
I need this, the closeness once in a while. Because my father told me I'd be a man of winter, a cold man and a serious one. Yet even a man of winter needs his moments of warmth, the heat of another radiating from another and the warmth glowing within my chest just by the simple grace of her presence. I don't want to leave, I wasn't lying.
As if to confirm everything, she puts her fingers in my hair and a thousand and one emotions swim within my heart. And before I can say anything, our lips are locked all over again. Like being in that bar all over again and I swear, I could just stay like this because there's no taste sweeter.
But she pulls away and I find myself hungering for more. "Then you don't have to leave," she replies and I find myself nodding. As if in a simple trance. "You can stay for as long as you like."
Another kiss, a shorter peck this time.
"How does forever sound?" I say with a short and quiet chuckle. Of course, impossible. "Suppose I should stick around for as long as possible, it's not everyday you get to sleep in a castle."
Alexander kisses her again and suggests forever. If only it were possible — though she wouldn't mind if he decided to come around more often.
"Suppose I should stick around for as long as possible, it's not everyday you get to sleep in a castle," Alexander continues. Lucrezia giggles at his words; it's always such a shock to visitors when they see where she lives. She can't really blame them, considering that the Sarasins are one of the view families that hold estates like this. Most old buildings such as the Sarasin estate have been torn down and rebuilt into a more modern structure, but their family has always insisted on keeping their home intact, ancient or not. "No, I suppose not," she says with another laugh. "But you could always come back, if you wanted."
She says it, just like that. Like it's that simple that I can just come over because we're something more.
Are we something more?
I don't know and honestly you cannot tell but it's the moment she says that I realize that I want to be something more. Not just because she's pretty, not because she has a castle on top of a mountain but because she's just worth something more than just a one-night stand who I'm with for one night then get changed and leave before the light of dawn.
I kiss her cheek. "I'd love nothing more, I say to her before pulling away. "And maybe you can see my place, not that it's a castle or anything," I laugh. "If you want to, that is."
Last Edit: May 17, 2018 19:10:56 GMT -5 by kousei ♚