Tuesday, April 16, 2019
I woke up to a gut-wrenching discomfort that felt just like the plummet on a roller coaster.
I’d been curled around Nessa’s back, one arm folded under my head, the other wrapped securely around her flank, pulling her against me like a heating pad to soothe the nagging twist in my belly. It felt like something was yanking at my guts, tugging on strings attached irrevocably to something inside my body.
Groaning softly as not to wake the happily dreaming Siren, I rolled onto my back and rubbed one hand over the affected area, and worked my other hand to try and bring back some blood flow into my arm. It felt nothing like my period, and I didn’t smell blood, but I had no clue what else it could have been, so I slipped out of the sheets hastily pulled over myself and Nessa, and went to at least put on some clothes.
I stretched and my joints popped loudly against the nighttime silence. I noticed the red 4:47 on my bedside clock glowing deceptively brightly in the dark. The faint crimson shone dully against Nessa’s back, highlighting the dark lines of her many tattoos, as well as some other markings that I vaguely remembered leaving in a blind haste. I felt exhausted, and guessed that whatever was happening to my stomach had kept me from any decent sleep.
As I went about rummaging through my dresser for some underpants and pyjamas, I noticed the tugging had nearly completely faded.
Shaking my head exasperatedly, I decided it was close enough to dawn that trying to sleep again would be pointless. I went back to the Siren and out of habit pressed a kiss into the crook of her neck as I pulled the sheets back over her. She made a soft purring noise and buried her head into the pillows, exposing more of her neck to touch, and I scowled at another sharp yank at my gut.
I suppressed an annoyed growl and made my way out of the bedroom.
Caught up with Nessa, I’d entirely neglected to deal with Sol for the night, and I felt a little guilty about it, but I knew he was also, unfortunately, rather used to my being distracted for long periods of time. Honestly, I sometimes wondered why he bothered returning to my balcony whenever I did let him out.
As if expecting me, I found the dragon sitting boredly on the back of the sectional, watching me with disdainful golden eyes.
“Sorry." I whispered, holding out my arm. Sol huffed, his tail flicking with displeasure. “Stop pouting, I’ll let you out." At this, he stood leisurely from his perch and flapped twice to lift himself off the couch and glide onto my arm. I walked him back to the sliding glass doors as he took a thorough survey of my messy hair, his breath coming in short, hot puffs against my skin.
“Go on," I nudged him forward with one hand, and really should have expected that his next move would be to growl and sit himself resolutely on my shoulder, wrapping his long, scaly tail around my bicep, a sure sign that he would not be flying out today. He was proud, even for the breed.
Sol had been a gift from my father, who was in the practice of dragon breeding; he was an Indoamerican Gold, one of the rarer and most intelligent breeds, and had been my companion for almost fifty years. The breed itself was a cross between the Modern Aztec and Emasapi, giving it a western constitution, fire breathing, stunning golden scales, and sparkling light-green feathers. I was rather fond of him, though he could be an absolute nightmare if he was ever so inclined.
When I closed the sliding door behind me on the way back in, Sol leapt off and started jumping about the kitchenette, purposefully ramming and skidding into anything that would produce a noise. I groaned.
“Would you behave yourself? We have company that is trying to sleep."
“Was.” I turned to smile sheepishly at the Siren, who was now leaning against my bedroom doorframe, completely naked, and smirking teasingly, if not also a bit tiredly, at me.
“Sorry. I forgot to let him out earlier and he’s giving me attitude.” I glared over at the dragon, who was now happily weaving between Nessa’s ankles, purring. I was completely sure he’d woken her up on purpose; she tended to spoil him and he knew it.
“As if that wasn’t entirely my fault.” She mused, holding her forearm out in front of her. Sol immediately jumped onto her and blew a couple sparks in her face. “Hey, no. You know not to use fire inside.” Sol’s tail lashed indignantly and he halfheartedly snorted a cloud of smoke in her direction. She blew it back into his face and he snapped his jaw a couple of times insultedly.
“I think I’d like it to go down in record that I had absolutely no intention of sleeping with you when I got here.” Sol sat himself on her shoulder, allowing her to cross her arms loosely over her chest, cocking her head to one side and playing a lax smile across her lips.
“And yet here you are, standing naked in my kitchen.” I mused. The Siren shrugged carelessly, sending a muted flash of annoyance through the bored dragon stubbornly perched on her. “It was entirely your fault, too. I was more than content to leave you on the couch.”
“Not my fault you work up proper easily.” She scoffed, stalking closer with a mischievous smirk. “Maybe it would help if you hadn’t gone what? Two decades without getting laid, mate.” Her face split into a wide, goading grin. I scowled, and went to retort, but her laugh stopped the words in my throat. “Please, I know how you Elves are with your vicarious pleasure. You need a warm body as much as anyone else, if not, maybe more.” -Her smile widened, all too pleased with having set up my response.-
When all I could do was glare at her, she purred a quiet checkmate under her breath and scratched the bottom of Sol’s jaw victoriously. Whether at my annoyance or the pampering, Sol chirruped happily, fluffing the little feathers around his face and spine.
“That aside, I only got up to tell you to come back to bed.”
“I don’t care what time it is, love. I’m jet-lagged and sore, and you clearly have nothing better to do.” Nessa chuckled, unfolding my arms from where I hadn’t realized they’d crossed defensively over my body. She set my hands by my sides, trailing her own down to where they rested on the stone countertop as she leaned into me.
“Mi’mïrä, you know I won’t be able to sleep now,” I found myself laughing quietly, pulling my hands free of her tired hold and wrapping her in my arms. Sol, realizing he wasn’t in place to be the center of attention for the time being, growled unhappily and glided sourly back to his perch on the sectional, glaring half heartedly at me.
“Yes, how could I forget? You’re a bloody morning person.” The Siren drawled sarcastically, but cuddled into the embrace all the same. If she noticed that Sol had moved, I couldn’t tell. I could feel sleep slipping back in at the corners of her consciousness and I tightened my arms because it wouldn’t have been the first time she’d fallen asleep on me, and left me to make sure she wouldn’t just fall to the floor.
“Read, then. Maybe you can find out what’s happening with that Fairy of yours, hm?” She drummed her fingers lazily on my arm, a playful knowingness settled into her aura and I attributed it mostly to her amusement. Part of me, I think, definitely knew that there was something lurking in the cold below her warmer feelings, but, in a hundred years, I’d never known Nessa to have a loose tongue. She’d always been one for softly spoken clues, but derived immense pleasure from watching those clues come slowly into focus; she enjoyed spinning the thread, but left it to others to weave them into tapestries.
The second time we woke up was much later in the day.
I had a new crick in my neck from having fallen asleep while sitting upright, and had undoubtedly lost my place in the decently large tome that now lay, with sagging pages, half open against Nessa’s back. Somehow, Nessa had pulled my shirt off and discarded it to where it now lay out on a pillow. Her hand had found its way back to grab lazily at my side. She herself was curled up loosely by my hip, both of her legs wrapped securely around one of my own.
The 9:58 on my bedside clock now looked dim against the sunlight slipping through the room’s semi-transparent curtains. Looking down, I laughed quietly at the way Nessa was contorted to just avoid touching the sunnier patches of the mattress.
“Nessa, it’s nearly ten, wake up.“ I massaged the knot in my neck, rolling my eyes when the only response I received was a low groan. “I know you’re awake, Vanessa.” Her aura was a muddled mess of indistinguishable emotions, swimming wildly around each other as she started to come to.
“Jet lagged. Sore. Fuck yourself." She mumbled lowly in an unfiltered and heavily accented voice. Her natural accent hardly ever surfaced, except when she was groggy like this; a garbled concoction of different British regional accents, the more glamorous drawls of Elvish, and the purposeful, melodic intonations of trademark of the many Sirenic languages she knew. The combination itself wasn’t particularly unique if you ignored Nessa’s odd pronunciation of some very specific words, but it was still rare. Usually, when it could be helped, the Faerfolk tended to hide their accents.
“Find anything in that book you so generously stuck under my back?" Nessa mumbled, swatting at where the corners dug into her, shoving it off the mattress with a satisfied huff. I smiled even though I knew finding my place again would be a hassle.
"No." I sighed, running a hand through her hair. She hummed happily, scooting up under my arm and pressing her cold nose against the side of my neck.
“Mmm, didn’t think so.” I felt her lips curl into a smile on my skin, and she chuckled in her throat as she placed a lazy kiss there too. Her accent evened out when she switched to English. It almost distracted me from the pulling that had returned to my gut.
“What would people say if they knew how incredibly soft you are?” I teased, lacing one of my hands through one of hers. She purred again, low in her throat, and I felt it vibrate against my shoulder.
“Only for you, love.” I swatted her with my free hand when I felt her teeth on my collar. “And what would Rose say if she saw the marks you left on me?” Her eyes glinted with mischief as I felt my face turn a bashful red. Without really intending to, I pressed our joined hands against where I felt a sharp yank in my stomach. Nessa looked thoughtfully between our hands and my face, a smile brewing like a thunderstorm, and the shadow of a much larger feeling swam below the currents of what I could decipher. I’d just started to wade into those turbulent waters, or perhaps dive in to find what was below, but Nessa decided then was the time to distract herself and the feeling was buried far too deep for me to follow.
“American pancakes.” She stated as she jumped away from me, grinning. “Reckon I’ve missed those about as much as I’ve missed you. Though, I suppose it would only be a fair contest once I’d had you covered in syrup too.” She bumped my hip as I got up, laughing when I stumbled a bit.
I rolled my eyes, smiling, and followed her as she went about rummaging through my clothes.