Lorelei

Lorelei

Postby Gloom » Fri Sep 04, 2015 7:06 pm

As those of you who have still not abandoned us (for whatever reason) may have noticed, a few days ago our most excellent and outstanding (in the original sense of the word) artist Morthiasik has decided to grace our forums with this lovely picture of Katja and Lena wearing nothing but skimpy swimsuits. Feeling that, since my own character has been among those chosen to star in the gorgeous pic I was bound to return something (both to him and to the fans who made the choice), I've decided to take a bit of my free time and write a short piece about Katja, swimsuits, and blue skies. The original plan had been to write about the scene in the pic, but after trying and failing to do justice either to Lena or to Morthiasik's dreamlike setting, I have decided to instead use the opportunity to quickly reveal a side of Katja's character that hasn't been explored in a while. Like the previous few "scenes" starring Katja I've written here, this one doesn't appear in the game... but in essence, might just as well. Sorry about the low quality of the writing - I've just returned from a long trip abroad and haven't written anything in over two months. This was the best I could pull off given the times.

Thanks again Morth, and enjoy.

Lorelei

The air seemed to shimmer in front of Erik's face as he passes through the gate to the pool area. They've barely gotten off the bus, and he could already feel thick, heavy drops of sweat crawling down the back of his neck and into his t-shirt.

He pulled a bit at the strap of the sports bag hanging off his shoulder to stave off a rash. It was an instinct, from back in the day when Gustav and he would go out in the summer with backpacks fifty times heavier to camp.

Not even a year inside, he thought, and he's already forgotten how weather feels like. He'd have said something about it to Katja, but that'd have been like complaining about getting some sand in his eye. To hear her talking about it, you'd think the last time they let her out Karl Franz was still called emperor.

"Jesus, it's hot," he laughed.

"And willing, it shall be yet hotter", she replied, tightening her grip on his hand and leaning even closer to him as they walked. "I've not even changed to my swimsuit yet".

He could feel her chest shuddering against his shoulder when she giggled to herself. He really should've considered that before going in trunks. For someone who never went to the pool, Katja had it all figured out: a sensible, yellow sundress, and a wide-brimmed hat to go with it, and whatever she's planned to put on later stored and secure in her bag, probably folded neatly alongside the picnic blanket she spread on the bus seat before.

"I've always thought you'd be the type to like colder days."

"Rightly so," she answered, planting a swift kiss on the base of his neck. "As I do the warmer days, and drier, and wetter days. I love the days when its blooming and the days where it snows. Most especially, however –", she said, "I love being outside with you. I'd have loved it just as much if it stormed."

Now he was thankful for the heat. Maybe the people passing them by would assume his cheeks were only red because of it.

"Did you just make that up?" he mumbled back at her.

This time, Katja was the one to laugh, a ringing, singsong sound. "Should I be disappointed that you know me so little, my dear? I am always making it up."

She pulled him closer to whisper by her ear. "You're just the sweet fool you are for enjoying it."

"Well, I'm having a hard time imagining someone who wouldn't."

Another lilting, beautiful chuckle, before she pulled back again to his side. "So, so very sweet."

They've picked the right time to go out. Katja's been in a good mood for almost a week, and you never could know whether how long one might last, or how low she was going to sink once it was over. It didn't seem to bother her overly much, at least when he's asked. For the moment, Katja seemed content to pass her days waltzing cheerily through the hallways and showing up to his class after every period for a quick kiss and a hug. All the giggling would've probably become grating after a while if she'd been anyone else, but that was a part of Katja's charm: she had a way of looking just as respectable whether she was sulking silently in her room refusing to eat anything or loudly humming in class because the lamplight was nice. The end result was that, rather than making the impression of a puppy running around wagging its tail – although it did feel, sometimes, like if Katja had one she would be wagging it fast enough to catch fire – and more of a songbird outside one's window come morning. Tiring, but it's hard not to appreciate the beauty of it.

Besides, one can really only complain so much about being kissed too many times a day by a girl like Katja. Now, if she'd only slowed down a little – token efforts at containing her excitement notwithstanding, she seemed either oblivious or uncaring of the fact that she was walking so fast you'd have needed an Olympic referee to tell that she wasn't running.

"See anywhere we can change in? I've never been to this place before", he said once they've entered the enclosure, hanging onto her outstretched hand to keep from tripping. The familiar scent of a public swimming pool – an acrid, but not wholly unpleasant combination of sweat, sunscreen and chlorine, hit his nose almost immediately. It was a hot day, and half the neighborhood seemed to have had the same idea as they, but so far as Erik was concerned, that just made the scene more lively. Wherever he turned his face, children and adults in colorful swimwear were playing, swimming,
shouting at each other, dozing off on resting chairs or picnic blankets, or just stretching their limbs in the sun.

It was a refreshing image. Looking up, even Katja was clearly enjoying it, noise and dirt and all.

"That seems to be it", she answered, sounding clearly over the crowd . "Over by the side."

She pointed towards a one-story building whose white walls gleamed in the sunlight.

"Wait right here for me when you're done, would you?" she asked, taking her hat off to give Erik another quick peck on the cheek. "I'll be back before you can tell it. I don't want to miss a second today."
He was about to say something in return, but she's already darted off towards the locker room before he could think of anything clever.

He didn't have his watch on, so he couldn't tell how long it took him to wash and change. Leaving it in his room was the only way he could get her to promise not to get angry if they'd messed up the timing on anything, which went to show in just how good a mood she was, since he's known her more than long enough to know she didn't need a watch to be able to tell if a bus was three nanoseconds late. All he knew was that Katja was still not there when he returned to the same spot by the entrance.

The swimmers and goers moved around him in a big, blurry blob of smiles and speedos. Someone's been considerate enough to spread a tarpaulin shade over the water proper, but from the distance Erik stood from it, he could easily look above.

The sky was so blue if it wasn't for it, you couldn't tell it apart from the water. A deep, wild shade of turquoise, the kind gotten when the sun shines so bright and the air from the mountains flows so dry that not even invisible clouds are there to filter it.

As if on cue, a cool breeze blew by him from the direction of the water. Disregarding his complaint from earlier, it was as perfect as weather could be for a day like that. He didn't know that for sure, and he couldn't – and if he gave it the slightest bit thought, knew that he probably shouldn't – but he wanted to think to himself that even if Katja didn't have an excuse that involved chemicals and neurotransmitters, she'd have looked as happy as she did just now.

She held onto him throughout the entire ride. The only times that soft, magical smile left her face was when she tightened her lips to kiss him. For all her delicate looks, Katja was a strong girl. You felt it when she really wanted to hold on to you. You felt her arms closing around your waist, and her thighs pushing against the side of your leg, and her cheek against your shoulder. It was a gentle yet unrelenting pressure, sounding like heartbeat and smelling of perfume and flowers, and Katja's shampoo.

"You know that everyone's watching, right?" he asked.

She grabbed him by the chin and turned his face aside to plant a long, hot kiss on his sleeps. "As would I, in their stead," she said, opening her eye with a coy smile after what felt like an hour. "Jealousy is all too common a failing."

He grabbed her back, wrapping an arm around her own shoulder. "Just remember that if you keep like that, one of us' bound to get bored eventually."

"Oh, but I sincerely doubt that. A kiss, my dear, is never boring. Each is a world unto its own, done right. A kiss can stop time, or turn the world upside down. It can pull a soul up from the depths of despair as easily as plunge it in. It can burn the flesh off their bones even as it freezes the blood in their veins, and leave them alive when it's finished. The shadow of the memory of a kiss can stir dead flames back alight. A powerful force to be belittling, don't you think?"

Her voice remained firm and steady when she spoke, even as her fingers trembled. With what exactly, Erik could only try to keep himself from guessing.
"Besides," she added, "I so happen to find kisses immensely enjoyable."

"Really? I barely noticed. I just assumed you were trying to keep my lips occupied."

"Well," she sighed, "you should try listening to yourself once, then blame me."

Not that it stopped her. Not by a very long shot.

Farther away from him, inside the water, a group of kids about their age were playing some ball game among themselves. He tried to pass the time by following the ball as it flew from one to the other, counting the number of times each one touched it, but it spent just as long floating around after a miss as it did touching people's hands.

"Erik! Erik! Over here!"

The sound of Katja's voice to his side drew Erik back to reality like whipcord. He turned around just in time to see her running towards him with a big, nigh-predatory grin on her face, somehow managing to dance amidst the crowds without slowing down for a second.

"I'm sorry I took so long", she gasped, coming to an admirably graceful stop nearby him, despite being clearly short of breath. "Squeezing into this proved a bit more challenging than I'd assumed."

Erik muttered something back at her which may have been a quiet "I forgive you". He'd seen her wearing short skirts before, at least by her own admission. He'd seen her dresses, at parties. He'd even seen her with sleeves uncovered, when she first got into her sundress that morning. He did wonder what she was thinking, removing the bandages from her wrists, but clearly, she'd been in too good a mood to care.

What he didn't ever think he'd see her in, even if the poles had melted and the world all turned into a oceanic wasteland straight out of that one old film, is a thin, blue bikini which seemed tight enough in places to show off more than the tiny bit it did cover.

For a girl whose sensibilities in fashion otherwise leaned strictly towards the "imperial", this was, well, completely and utterly unbelievable.

"Erik?"

"Uh –", he groaned while his brain rebooted. Somewhere, deep within the lightless reaches of his consciousness, a drowning and going part was aware of the fact that her thighs looked in about as good a shape as her wrists.

Which is to say, sang out most of the other parts while pushing said into the realms of Freudian misconception, very, very good shape. And very, very bare.

"So," she said after a far too long, torturous minute, puffing her now-even-more-extremely-visible-than-usual chest out in pride with her arms held behind her back. "How do you like it?"

"It's… it's gorgeous. I – um, I'm still… you know."

He swallowed, as much for dramatic investment as anything.

"That's a lot of skin."

"So it is," she replied, taking a hidden hand from behind her and placing a cold, hard object in Erik's. "Every square centimeter of which I'd hate to see burned in the sun for the sake of it."

He managed to lower his gaze through herculean effort. In his hand was a newly-bought, orange bottle of sunscreen.

"A predicament with which I'm certain you'll do marvelously to contend."

"But…"

"I will, of course, return you the favor when you're done", she said, once again whispering straight into his ear. "Isn't reciprocity fun?"

"– wouldn't build my society on any other principal."

He was incredibly proud of himself for that line. Given what little blood was left for his brain after seeing Katja prancing about like that, he felt entitled to it.

"Truth be told", she huffed as they walked towards the water, she still leaning on Erik's shoulder and he still not feeling comfortable enough to touch any more of her – "that swimsuit is a fair bit tighter than I'd remembered it. I haven't bought any in a while, for obvious reasons."

"…I thought you didn't like clothes that are too tight."

"True," she said with a shrug, seemingly unminding of how the soft, warm skin of her arm rubbed against the side of Erik's body as she did. "But I didn't think that you would. You are still a boy, for all your merits."

"Ouch."

"Am I wrong?"

"About me not liking it, or about me being a boy?"

"Make it both, then" she laughed, before lowering her voice "Though the second part is rather evident, at the moment. Not that anyone's looking that I can see."

"That's… terrific. You look terrific", he whimpered, and awkwardly tottled the rest of the way to the shaded patch of grass Katja's set her eye on before mercifully spreading her blanket and sitting down.

"Now, if you may", she said, pointing at the bottle of lotion still clutched in his hand and lying flat down on her stomach.

"R-right…" he mumbled, crawling besides her and beating a handful of lotion out of the bottle. The last time he touched sunscreen was almost half a year back, and that was only to put a little on the tip of his nose. It was a big leap to make with so little practice.

If his discomfort had been in any way apparent, Katja certainly looked like she was enjoying it.

He'd never seen her bare back before. He'd imagined it, but since that was Katja, his imagination went back and forth all sorts of ways when it came to picturing her naked. All things considered, the reality of it hadn't been too different from what he had in mind.

Smooth. Gently curving. Just full enough to let an aesthetically precise amount of bone show through, along her spine and beneath the shoulder blades. Not fully covered in scars. Not entirely free of them.

The thing about reality, however, is that it tends to go further than the imagination bothers to. True, Katja's back looked a lot like he'd imagined, but his imaginings stuck mostly to looking, and a vague, abstract idea of touch.

Nothing about his daydreams of Katja could've prepared him for the suppleness of the flesh, or the sensation of the blood pulsing in the veins underneath it when he pressed against it strongly with his palm. To the interplay of the warmth of her body and the moist coolness of the lotion in his hand.The images were static, or moved in the coldly smooth way that an actor moves in a film: very little had prepared him for the steady, organic feeling of motion that passed through Katja's back when she breathed.

Almost nothing prepared him for the way her flesh shuddered, and her faint, low purrs of self-satisfaction when he massaged her stomach's side.

"I had a feeling you'd be good at this", she moaned. "It's like I've been saying: I have an eye for quality."

"I aim to please."

"Then aiming is yet another thing you do well. What a lucky boy you are", she chuckled.

"You do seem to be going out of your way to make me feel like it."

She waited another few moments for him to finish with her back, before turning over. While she was still smiling, there look in her was oddly serious.

"You're the only reason I can be out here," she said. "Even if you hadn't been the one to talk with the doctors about us going out, I never would've been able to get permission to if it wasn't for you. Much as it pains me to say that, I don't think you can even begin to understand just what a –"

She stopped, taking a deep, loud breath, before going on.

"Thank you. Anything I did until now, or anything that I do today, I want you to know that you deserve. That you deserve infinitely more than – why did you stop? Do you want my stomach to get sunburnt?"

"O-oh, right. Sorry about it."

She smiled. It gave an odd tone to her voice when she next spoke: strangely broken, for a singer. Nearly pained. Desperate.

"All your talk about me getting upset about the times, or about tight clothing, or dirty water – do you even realize just how little that matters compared to what you've done for me? Even today, even disregarding all of the – all of the amazing things that you have, even if we only count everything between this morning and now, there's nothing that I can think of doing to thank you enough for it."

"It's all just for fun", he said. He tried to keep his own voice even. He wanted to sound gentle.

"It is fun", she said, now turning her head to look at him. "Or I wouldn't have been grasping for words to describe just how grateful I am. Come over here," she said, raising a hand from her side and touching it to the end of his cheek.

Erik wasn't sure if her fingers were moving, or if his face was. It felt like a surge of electricity moving between them when she did. Slowly, hesitantly, he lowered his face towards hers.

"Wait!"

He stopped in the middle of movement with an abruptness normally associated with shooting victims.

"What happened?"

"I said wait", she repeated, pushing herself up from the blanket with dazzling speed and standing back on her legs next to Erik.

"It'll be just a moment, alright?" she promised, leaning over to level with his face. Once again, her smile had shifted from angelic to devious. "Then I'll cover your back, then we hop in and swim."

He didn't really know what to say. His brain was still struggling to adjust to the sudden disappointment. And the general situation. And the fact that Katja, being herself, must've known just how much her swimsuit showed when she leaned over next to him like this.

It took her longer to be back than last time. Once again, Erik had wished to himself he had his watch on. The blanket felt very empty for one person to sit on.

He was thinking of getting up to look for her when the touch of a familiar finger on his shoulder made him move.

"Missed me?"

Once again, full view of the leaning down Katja. Once again, a little, wonderful bit of brain damage.

"Where'd you go?" he managed to ask her once she sat down, and he managed to get some air back in his lungs.

Katja's smile widened. "I got us both those," she said. "My treat."
In one of her hand were two colorfully wrapped popsicles, still glittering with faded bits of frost. She handed Erik a yellow one, perhaps lemon or mango, then without a word turned to neatly removing
the wrapper off her own, pink one.

He looked down at the yellow popsicle in confusion.

"Wow. Um… thanks", he said. "That's… I mean, not to –"

"Not to what?"

She was still focusing on the wrapper, moving her fingers slowly in order to tear off the top without ripping the rest.

"Well, it's just that…"

"Yes?"

He swallowed. Now a part of him wished he hadn't said anything.

"…nothing. It's just really unusual to see you buying ice-cream. You always say it's a gentleman's job to, when we're out."

"Protocol is important," she laughed. "But I was willing to make an exception, this once."

"To thank me?"

"No. So that I can show you", she answered.

It did sound a lot more like her, albeit devoid of context.

"Show me what?"

She set the wrapper aside silently, and seeming to ignore him, took a very, very long lick of the side of her popsicle. By the time she was over, her lips had gotten a slight, pinkish sheen.

"About before", she said.

"What about before –"

Erik never got to finishing that sentence. Without warning, using her one, ice-cream free hand to grab him firmly by one cheek, Katja pulled him over to her and planted a kiss on his lips.

It was freezing, and was burning hot. It was soft, with tiny, biting specks of ice. It tasted of strawberries.

It seemed to stop time. It seemed to turn the world upside down. He wasn't so sure about the soul part, but if he was a bit more religious, he thought, maybe he'd have been getting there.

"See?" she moaned quietly once they'd finally parted. Even without touching her lips, from up so close, he could feel – not just hear, but feel – her heart beating.

"Done right, a kiss is never boring."
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Re: Lorelei

Postby jarek56 » Mon Sep 07, 2015 1:18 pm

Panic level decreased to 0%. Gloom has posted another brilliant, touching, electrifying piece that finally shows us the happy times between my favorite pair.

All is right in the world. Thank you, Mr. Gloom. I hope your trip was productive and pleasant. :D
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Re: Lorelei

Postby Gloom » Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:26 am

Thank you! I can only really claim the second now with any degree of accuracy, but I'd like to believe that it was both in at least equal measure.
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