Author's Note: Hey everyone. It's been a few years since I wrote one of these, and I decided it was time I updated my writing style. Only dead authors can be considered finished with the things they write, and with luck I've got a long time before I meet that criteria.
I want to say thank you again to "Ronna-chan" for the 'hint hint', and hope that you all like the changes I've made to both Sheet of Paper and Dreams.
I give you characters conceived by Mr. Warburton's, on a stage and with words and feelings of my own conjuring.
Beep... beep... beep...
As the beeping alarm on her cell phone completed its intrusion on the silence of Kuki's slumber, her mind began to register the rays of light playing across her closed eyes, and the feel of the tatami bed on which she slept. Her mind struggled against the tidal wave sensory input, grasping at the last vestiges of the deep sleep she'd been enjoying, and trying with all that was in her to hold onto something of the dream.
Mmm... that wonderful dream.
What seemed moments before being awoken by that dreadfully tacky and annoying tone, Kuki had been having a splendid fantasy in dreamland. At the time it had certainly seemed real. The touch... the sound... the scent, the taste, the sight... and yet it was just so blissfully perfect. The experience was so unadulterated with anything that suggested reality that she had almost been expecting to wake up.
Mmm... Wally... she cooed inside her head.
She had entered the dream – not know at the time that it might be a dream – simply as herself, in her bed, in the little house that she and Wally were staying in at her grandparent's house outside of Tokyo. Her body felt wearied from what was her last day in Japan, and yet she had recalled a restless and almost desperate longing for Wally's company. She had wandered to the shoji that separated the two guest bedrooms and then out fear and trepidation, the true motive for which now unknown, she had withheld her hand and stood in front of the paper door for a long time. She'd thought about Wally and her, pondering their behavior over the course of their short few months of knowing each other, and wondered at the nature of their shared feelings, if indeed any of his feelings were as deep as those that she held for him.
Wally was a hard-headed, soft-spoken and soft-hearted man with a rough exterior that he rarely allowed to be peeled away for anyone. In the dream, however, she sensed that she could get through that thick head and hide and entice the soft-hearted boy inside of him to open up to her and share himself with her.
After standing there, feeling like something was literally clawing its way through her insides and smashing itself against the bones in her chest, Kuki decided to open the door. When she did, the room became bathed in a glow of moonlight that came so strong it was almost phosphorescent. He had been standing right there in the doorway, his own hand placed on the shoji. From the light of the moon-reflecting tatami mats, she could see it was Wally, rendered in all his essential characteristics: the confident posture, the below-average height, and the outline of muscles on his body. She was so surprised to see him there she had let out a mild gasp that he had echoed in his own voice.
For a moment she just stood there staring at him, so afraid that any movement or action on her part would destroy the ambiance. Finally, and with a voice that came softly and longingly, she dared break the silence by speaking his name. He in turn replied with his rough Australian accent in a similar tone of longing and spoke her name.
Her body then moved without compulsion or hesitation, completely bent to her will and committed to satisfying the urges that were within her. She took hold of Wally as his arms came around her. Their lips met: warm, wet, and hungry. Kuki led him back to her bed on the floor and fiercely pulled at her kimono till it was all but ripped from her body. The intensity of her actions seemed a bit startling, but she felt no qualms and had no desire to stop.
Still kissing Wally, and now naked in arms, her hands set to removing his kimono as well. He helped her at untying his belt, but he seemed to be moving so slowly... very slowly. At last he too was unclothed, and his arms enveloped her as they continued to cuddle, kiss and caress each other.
When the kissing ended, Kuki and the man she loved positioned themselves in just the right manner, with Kuki holding her body over his, and tenderly joined with each other, though it was hardly a fitting word for what transpired in that most elemental of fusions. For what seemed like hours they slid back and forth across each other's bodies. Their hips moved forward and backward as if in a dance, while their chests continued heaving, their bodies continued sweating, and her hair draped down around their faces, closing out every visible thing except for his smiling face with its mildly wrinkled forehead, short blond hair, and beautiful green eyes.
Every time she drew a breath, he breathed with her. Every time her hand caressed his arms and chest he would respond by gently stroking her back and thighs. They were so perfectly in sync with one another's desires and movements there just didn't seem to be any way to stop or slow down the ecstasy that she felt was coming. She felt parts of her body quiver and convulse spasmodically, uncontrollably, and yet wonderfully. Moans and sighs of pleasure issued from her throat, and she looked down at her lover, smiling contentedly. In her mind she sang his name, and declared herself indelibly in love with him. He in turn looked up at her with a reciprocating smile, and in all that she could see and feel, it seemed he too felt the same way.
At that point, Kuki was so lost in the edenic pleasure of the experience that her mind had at last awoken her to the possibility, if not the unassailable fact, that she was dreaming. How else could this man with whom she lay understand her wants so clearly? How else could she find such complete and utter love for another human being? How else could she explain all that she was experiencing except to say that she was in the arms of a specter born of her own imagination?
Why did that alarm have to ring?
Kuki hadn't even opened her eyes yet. She squeezed them tightly, hoping that perhaps some flickering, phantom image of the dream might scar itself on her eyes so she could keep the faintest echo of that blissful experience when she opened her eyes again. But there was nothing now. Nothing she could see, hear, feel, smell or taste… it was gone. A memory now which she could only hope wouldn't dim with time as other dreams were apt to do.
Kuki was so distraught at that notion, so overwhelmed with a sense of helpless loss and impossible hope that she began to cry. She kept her eyes shut and held herself still to prevent a sob escaping her, but she let the tears run freely through her clenched lids. She sniffled lightly, ashamed that she could lose that precious dream, angry with herself for not accepting that dreams were fleeting no matter how treasured, and forlorn that such a wonderful experience had never, and probably would never happen anywhere other than in her slumbering mind.
In the silent and contained throes of her despair, Kuki felt something press against her eyes. It was a little coarse in texture, but it was gentle nonetheless. It moved across the lids, and she felt the tears being wiped away – a finger!
She opened her eyes but couldn't see the face through the tears that obscured her vision. Fiercely wiping them from her view she gasped when she beheld Wally's face mere inches from her.
"WALLY!" She shrieked.
"Are you all right?" He asked, his thick Australian accent adding exotic emphases to each of the vowel sounds in his speech.
His presence had so startled her that she turned away from him and curled into a ball, taking a moment to compose herself. She didn't want him to see her crying, and at that exact moment she desperately didn't want to look into those beautiful green eyes. Seeing them now after having seen them in a blissful fantasy that she had been ripped away from was too much for her to bear.
"Sorry if I startled you... the alarm clock on your phone was going off. I just got up to go turn it off." He said. And she realized then that the phone had stopped its incessant ringing.
Why did it have ring at all? She thought to herself. Why did it have to be a dream?
The questions in her mind were silenced when a soft pair of lips brush against her ear and gave her the lightest kiss. Her ear was then filled with that richly-accented voice:
"We should probably get up if we're going to make that flight."
WE should get up!
Kuki snapped up and looked over at Wally, who she now realized was lying on the tatami mat next to her, bereft of a shirt, and comfortably encased in the blankets she too was draped in. Her face flushed, and suddenly she felt somehow out of herself, exposed in a way.
Her eyes went wide and she looked down to find herself naked, the blankets only covering her body up to the waist, her breasts fully exposed. She shrieked and pulled the blanket up to cover herself.
"Kuki..." Wally laughed a little uncomfortably, "are you OK?"
She looked around the room hastily, trying to absorb the scene in its entirety.
The shoji to Wally's room was wide open...
Her kimono was crumpled on the floor a fair distance from the foot of her bed...
Wally's kimono was crumpled on the floor nearer the foot of the bed...
The blankets were a wrinkled mess...
...OH MY GOD... Possibilities began to invade her mind. Was it real? How could it be? Wasn't it just a dream?
"Wally!" She began. "Last night I... did I... did you... did we..." She was breathing so much it was hard for her to articulate.
Suddenly a series of taps came on the shoji that opened to the porch.
"Kuki, sweetheart? Are you awake?"
It was Kuki's Grandma!
After giving a mild hiccup of panic Kuki pushed Wally off the mat and gestured fiercely for him to go back to his room. Still a little flustered and bewildered by her behavior Wally went away shaking his head in confusion, but went quickly nonetheless and closed the shoji behind him.
Kuki turned to the shoji that led to the porch and gave a simple, upbeat reply.
"Yes grandma. I'm up." She smiled innocently as if there was nothing remotely unusual about anything in the current situation and sat up in her bed, holding the blanket as high as her armpit to conceal her naked chest.
"Oh good dear, your Grandfather just started making some breakfast for you and Wally..." and Grandma started to slide the door open.
Hearing Wally's name brought Kuki to the suddenly realization that his kimono was still on the floor in front of her bed! Her own kimono was too far from the bed to reach in time, and she couldn't explain two kimonos on her floor. All this flashed through Kuki's mind as her Grandma slid the shoji further open. Knowing every instant mattered, Kuki quickly leaned out of bed, grabbed Wally's kimono, and pulled it under the covers as the shoji slid open. Once she had concealed the kimono under the covers Kuki snapped her head up and resumed her innocent look just as the door finished sliding open.
Thankfully, Grandma was looking down at the tea tray she was bringing in, instead of up at her half-naked granddaughter.
"...and I thought I'd bring you some tea to help wake you up."
"Oh thank you Grandmamma." She replied smiling. "That's so kind of you. But would you mind if I waited to have tea in the house?" Kuki's Grandma looked up with a curious expression. Kuki did her best to placate her Grandma's perplexity with a hasty explanation.
"... I mean, since it's my last morning with you and Grandpa, I'd rather have my tea with the two of you together instead of by myself."
Kuki's Grandma looked at her granddaughter askance, a suspicious smile forming on her lips. But the explanation seemed to satisfy her.
"You're absolutely right Kuki, dear. Grandpa and I will have breakfast ready soon. Come on inside in a few minutes when you're ready and we'll have a nice meal together." Kuki breathed a gentle sigh of relief but didn't let her guarded composure wane.
"Oh, was this room too warm for you last night dear?" Grandma asked as she prepared to take the tea back to the house. Kuki looked confused a moment, then realized what her Grandma meant when she saw her motion to her bare shoulders.
"Oh... yes it was a bit warm Grandmamma. Thank you for asking. I'll just be a minute getting my bags in order, and bathing. I'll be in the house soon."
Grandma smiled."Hmm-hmm... take your time dear, there's no rush. Oh is Wallabee up?"
Kuki felt her heart skip a beat at the mention of his name, but she didn't let any of this show and responded promptly with a smile.
"I'm not sure Grandmamma, I'll go check on him."
"Once you dress of course." Grandmamma reminded her. Kuki's face turned scarlet.
Her Grandma nodded and closed the shoji.
Kuki watched her Grandma's shadow as it turned and started moving in the direction of the house. Once it had wandered off the edge of the walls of the guesthouse Kuki wrapped the blankets around herself like a robe, stood up and walked toward the shoji leading to the adjacent room. She was somewhat stunned with herself when she opened the shoji without the slightest hesitation or any feeling of trepidation. Wally was standing over his open suitcase tightening the belt on his jeans with his back to the shoji, but as he heard it slide open he spun around. Kuki stood there in consternation, still trying her hardest to piece all the parts of the puzzle together, trying to differentiate dream from reality, and finding it difficult to divide any parts of it into the separate categories. Everything seemed to just flow together. She walked over to Wally, holding the blanket to her chest and looking at him with dead seriousness.
"Wally..." she began and paused to search for the right words to use. "Last night I dreamt..." and for modesty's sake paused again, "...I...I dreamt... that..."
Kuki closed her eyes and exhaled resolutely, trying to banish all feelings of hesitation and reticence through the clearing of her lungs. Then taking on a fresh breath of air she began again in earnest.
"I dreamt that we spent last night together... it was... it was wonderful. I just... Was it just me having a dream?"
Wally smiled and took her hand from off her shoulder where she held the blanket. At a single gentle touch from his callused hand she felt the strength leave her arm, and the blanket slid off her body. Her insides started to churn and melt, her forehead started burning, and her legs turned to jelly. She began falling, but when he dove to catch her she felt nothing. His arms grasped at her but passed through her as if she were a ghost. The floor itself seemed to lose all substance and she fell through.
Everything had become immaterial, and she was falling... falling...
Kuki snapped awake.
Breathing heavily she looked up from her bed mat and peered out the thin opening in the window on the edge of the room. The sky was still dark, but the faintest rays of the coming dawn had just crept up from the sea and would in time chase the stars into the west. Kuki felt almost incorporeal, and fearing that she was still in a dream she gripped her arm and pinched hard to wake herself up. The sting of the pinch quickly sent a wave of sensation from that one nexus of pain across her whole arm and spread to her chest, her legs and head. In a few moments, the entirety of her body felt solid, and she felt gravity pull her back down onto the mat. Kuki moved both her arms up and down her body, from her face, down her shoulders, passing quickly over her breasts and stomach to her thighs. Everything had feeling, and it was all soaked in sweat. Kuki closed her eyes in relief and exhaled heavily.
Then as her muscles relaxed and her backbone sunk into the mat she felt something uncomfortable under her back, as if she'd been sleeping with a rolled up mat under her shoulder blades. Kuki fidgeted and sat up, but her shoulders suddenly felt the chill of a light breeze and she looked down to find that she wasn't wearing her kimono. Partly out of her habitual modesty and partly from the shock of déjà vu she covered her chest with her arms and turned her head around to see what she'd been sleeping on.
To her amazement it was an arm!
Her heart racing and her brain a whirl Kuki threw back the covers that hid the upper part of the arm and felt her heart leap into her throat and her lungs collapse inside her ribcage as she beheld Wally snoozing peacefully next to her.
MY GOD! …am I dreaming again? She asked herself. I don't know how much more of this I can take!
Twice now, Kuki had felt herself to be in what seemed the real world, felt her emotions peak and dive multiple times, and always at the end been broken of her perfect illusions and watched as the charade of the dream came crashing down around her. Though the illusions were beautiful, she hungered for the real world: real people, real feelings, and real places that didn't randomly fade away into whimsical new constructs and environments.
So Kuki set her mind to work at waking up the man that she had found (for the third time) in bed next to her.
"Wally." She said as she shook his arm. "WALLY!"
He snapped awake.
"Huh... Kuki... 's something wrong?" he asked genuinely.
"Are you real?" she asked.
It was a silly question, but if this were a dream then the silliness of a question wouldn't matter, and if this was real then she could explain herself away by relating the visions of her previous slumber.
"...Uh... well I was last time I checked." Wally said with a bit of a chuckle, though his mind was still a little slow from being so suddenly woken up. "Any reason I shouldn't be?"
Kuki put her hand to her forehead and covered her eyes, trying to think of a way that she could explain all that had happened in her dreams and make it make sense.
"Kuki is something wrong?" Wally asked. He sounded genuinely concerned, so Kuki decided to answer his question first rather than attempt at piecing everything together in her mind's eye when she felt so hopelessly confused.
"Last night I had... I was having one dream after another, and they all happened in a setting just like this one. I'm just... I'm just trying to make sure I'm not in the middle of having a third dream." She expounded.
"Ok, Ok," Wally said defensively. "Well I feel quite real, so I don't think you're in a dream. But if you want to convince yourself that you're not dreaming, maybe explaining the last, uh, two dreams might help."
Kuki breathed a sigh and nodded slowly to say she agreed. Amazingly all the dreams were still vivid in her mind's eye, so it wouldn't be much of a stretch to recall the events in each.
"Ok. Last night after we said goodnight to each other I went straight to bed and I fell asleep. And in the first dream I remember waking up and..." she blushed, "...wanting to go over to your room to talk and be with you. So I went to the door to see you, but I felt afraid that maybe you'd be asleep, or... I don't know, I'm not exactly sure why I stopped. Anyway I stood in front of the door a long while and then decided to open it. And when I did, you were standing there in the doorway."
As she paused to collect her thoughts and stifle her impulse to blush, Wally opened his mouth to speak. But Kuki put up her hand to indicate she wanted to finish the story. And he closed his mouth without a sound.
"I said your name, and you said mine, and then we..." she swallowed hard, "We kissed, for a long time. And then I... or we... I pulled you through the doorway and into my room..." her face was starting to burn up she was blushing so much, "...and we lay down on my bed and we..." she thought her hair might go up in flames her face felt so hot, "We made love!" She managed to say.
Wally looked like he wanted to interject something, but he stayed quiet and waited for her to continue. He could see clearly that she had more to say.
"And then at some point I heard the alarm clock on my cell phone go off and I woke up again. Only I woke up in another dream. It was like... like I had been having a dream within a dream, and I had just left that first dream and I was... I was just in a regular dream..." she squeezed her eyelids shut and shook her head. It was so hard to explain intuitive feelings; they sounded silly even to her. But she decided to keep talking and not worry now about the clarity of her explanation.
Wally nodded and Kuki continued.
"And I was upset about the last dream ending..." she blushed again.
The rest of my body is going to run out of blood if I keep blushing this much! She thought.
"But you were here just like you are now. And you asked me if anything was wrong, like you did just now. And then Grandmamma came to the door with tea and I told you to run back to your room. Which you did, but you forgot your kimono and I had to hide it under the sheets when Grandmamma came in. ...and then… oh, I told her we should wait and have tea in the dining room with Grandpa, and she left, but she looked at me like she could just tell that I was hiding something. Then I went to talk to you. I asked you if the first dream I had was real, and you smiled at me and you took my hand..."
Again with the blushing?
"...and then I started falling and you couldn't catch me. I mean you tried to catch me, but there was nothing of me for you to catch. It was like I became a ghost. And I fell through the ground and just kept falling... and then I woke up here just now."
Kuki didn't know what else to say so she just stopped and looked at Wally for understanding. His eyebrows flexed upwards in surprise and he smiled sweetly. He reached forward and took her hand from where it rested on her lap and held it lightly, looking down at her soft, delicate fingers. He spent a moment rolling his callused thumb over her knuckles before looking up into her eyes with an expression of such sweetness that it made Kuki feel that she might melt all over again.
They're all such sweet dreams, but dammit can't something around here be real?
"Well that second dream sounds a bit weird," Wally laughed. "That first one though... that one sounded pretty familiar to me."
Kuki's eyes went wide and she took a moment to look around the room.
The shoji to Wally's room was wide open...
Her kimono was crumpled on the floor a fair distance from the foot of her bed...
Wally's kimono was crumpled on the floor nearer the foot of the bed...
The blankets were a wrinkled mess...
Her hands shot to her lips and she pressed her open palms together like she was praying. She breathed fast and heavy, trying to soak in the situation.
"You mean we...? Last night was...?"
Wally spared her anymore stunned questions. "Last night after I said goodnight to you I didn't go to sleep. I mean I tried, but I just... I couldn't. I was up for a while just thinking about you, and me, and... and us. And I decided to go and see you, only... only I stopped at the door just like you did cause I was afraid you might be asleep or... maybe you wouldn't want to see me. Anyway, I finally decided to just open the door and go in and see you. And when I slid the door open you were standing there. I froze, I didn't know what to do. Then after a minute you said my name, and then I said yours... and then... well it's as you described it really. We came together and kissed and you led me through the door and into your room while we were still kissing, and we... behaved like two people who were alone and... amorous."
He grinned sheepishly.
Kuki still had her hands palm-to-palm over her lips, as she looked Wally full in the eyes.
"So it wasn't a dream?" she asked. "I mean... I guess the second dream actually was a dream, but the first one... it was real?"
"Were you hoping it was just a dream?" Wally asked nervously. He was fearful she had only behaved as she did because she thought she wouldn't need to face him in the morning. He feared she only desired the idea of him instead of the flesh and blood person that he was. Kuki's face took on a look of placation and she reached her hands out to hold his arm.
"It was just so perfect! Every bit of it, Wally... the way we found each other in the dark, like we both wanted the same thing at the same moment. And the sound of your voice, and how sweet your kiss was... and your touch... all of it was wonderful. I didn't think any girl could experience anything so perfect, I just thought it had to be me living out some subconscious fantasy."
She scooted closer to him and let blanket slide off of her. She slid her hands up his arms and cradled the base of his head lovingly. He looked at her with a renewed sense of longing and smiled.
"But you're here now." She said. "It was real. Oh God I so wanted it to be real Wally, and it was... it is... I..." And she decided to stop talking.
She leaned forward and gave him a tender kiss on his cheek. Then slowly, deliberately and methodically she started moving up his cheekbone to his eyelid and brow, kissing about every centimeter or so, trying to taste every inch of his face as she had last night in her first 'perceived' dream. As she moved from his brow, down his nose and came at last to his smiling lips, he reached up to cup her lower jaw with his hands and kissed her back. She smiled as she drank in the tender sweet feeling of the kiss. Giggling with almost fiendish pleasure she pushed him down on the mat and stretched out on top of him as they continued kissing.
Two tears of joy slid out of her closed eyelids and ran gently down her nose while she ran her fingers through his thin, bowl cut hair. Meanwhile his hands traveled up her shoulder blades to the top of her head, and his fingers enmeshed themselves in her long, raven black hair. She opened her eyes and blinked away the residue of her joyful tears to get a look at Wally's face as they kissed. His eyelids were closed, but the thin muscles beneath his skin were contracted in such a way she could tell he would be smiling broadly if his lips weren't locked onto hers. She closed her eyes again and continued kissing him while her hands wandered freely along the sides of his face, across his broad chest, and below his underarm and around his shoulder. All the while, as she performed this blind-woman's examination of his body, he too was exploring her inch by inch using only the sensation of touch.
Kuki parted her lips and withdrew enough to look Wally full in the face. He looked at her passively, smiling.
"Wally," she cooed, "Oh Wally I don't ever want this night to end. Can't we just stay here forever?" And she allowed herself a good-hearted snicker.
He laughed too before he replied. "Saying 'no' to you is one of the hardest things in the world for me. But I don't know how I could ever stand to live with lying to you Kuki."
She dipped her head into his chest and inhaled deeply through her nose. It pained her to know that this night, like all nights before and all nights hence would come to an end. Yet hearing Wally say the things he was saying comforted her greatly.
Wally's lips curled upwards and he started to bare his teeth as if beginning to laugh.
"But we do still have a good hour or two before we need to get up."
Kuki closed her eyes and drew back her lips in a fiendish smile of her own, but it quickly gave way to a more wholesome and kindly smile when her lips slid over her teeth again.
"Let's just stay here and hold each other. We have all the time in the world to do other things," the words came out in an acutely seductive nature, "Tonight's our only first night."
"OK then," Wally responded, "I'll hold you. I'm not going anywhere."
Kuki settled herself down on his chest and closed her eyes. And thankfully, though tired and sleep-deprived she didn't allow her mind to slip away from her place in Wally's arms.
Who would I be if I wasted such a moment on dreams. She thought.
I'm living my dream.
Author's Note: I hope the rewrite has been to your liking. It was quite an overhaul, though I tried to keep most of the old language wherever necessary. If there are other stories you would like me to try and explore, or suggestions anyone has for improvement or expansion, you're more than welcome to tell me.