This was a concept I thought of while watching the Watchmen movie, though it is in no way related. It's taken me a while to finish it, because I wanted it just right. Please read, and review.
Reviewed after 5 years (May 2013).
DISCLAIMER: Don't own a thing. Except my stuff.
Just another Friday—unassuming and slow, though definitely not without its highlights she mused, contemplating her companion from her position nestled in the sofa. The patio doors were thrown open to permit the fresh summer air to enter, sending the curtains drifting. The heat had been unbearable earlier, though the impending dusk brought some relief.
She turned her attention to her neighbour, swirling a glass of wine in her hand. He was seated adjacent to her with his legs stretched out before him, crossed at the ankles, gaze resting nowhere in particular. The rose-coloured skies cast a beautiful glow upon his ivory skin. Eyes half lidded, they appeared almost black.
She reached for the remote and switched on the TV, settling back into her previous position to better view the screen as the opening credits began. They were accompanied by a gentle piano theme she recognised—no doubt from piano lessons years ago. The piece had always stirred something within her; it ached with gentle longing and beauty and she found herself envisioning her fingers gliding over the keys along to the music drifting across the room.
A period romance set in a turbulent, god forsaken city—she wondered if this genre was Vincent's forte. He did not seem to be feigning any sort of interest, eyes trained casually on the screen.
The plot line was tumultuous and hazy at best. She couldn't keep a hold of the story's thread, though the tension between the heroine and her chosen lover was breathtakingly realistic. She found her heart aching for them, willing them to cross the final distance and touch lips in a long awaited kiss.
She remembered a poem she had read a long time ago -in class perhaps- and how it described exquisitely the manner in which time distorted itself beyond comprehension when two lovers drew close to one another, lips merely a breath apart….
As the film reached this pinnacle she felt her breath catch in her throat, her heart hastening its beat within her chest, as the two lovers locked gazes. A silence ensued, and Tifa shifted uncomfortably as she considered what Vincent would think of her should he be able to read her mind; She sometimes humbled the impression that he could, for he seemed uncannily adept at saying the right thing at the right time.
The distance between the lovers closed as they came chest to chest with desperate fingers entwined. The heroine tilted her face upwards, lips slightly parted, eyelashes casting delicate shadows against her cheeks as she closed her eyes.
Tifa was pulled from her entrancement at the abrupt realisation that Vincent's eyes were on her. With the sun now falling behind the house, the room had slipped into a gloom penetrated only by the dismal colours of the movie's backdrop. How long had he been watching her?
Shoulders tensing, she leaned forwards to claim her temporarily forgotten wine, a ruse to cast a glance in Vincent's direction. He was facing forwards again, eyes trained unwavering on the screen. She parted her lips to speak, gathering her wits and her breath before sitting upright.
"I hope this isn't making you feel uncomfortable. We can watch something else…" She glanced at the screen of her television set as she said this. Part of her wished that he would acquiesce, if only to spare her from her rather sudden embarrassment.
"It is of no consequence to me either way," Indifference was often his chosen tact, though Tifa detected a slight hint of indecision in his voice. "…Although I would like to go for a walk, to enjoy the cool, perhaps?"
She nodded; of course, she would like to enjoy such an evening as this one. It offered her the opportunity to catch up with him. She lived alone just outside of Kalm, and his visits were a welcome reprieve from her solitude.
She drained her glass and hauled herself to her feet, glad of an escape from her sudden discomfiture and fluttering stomach. Stepping out of her house was liberating; the air seemed clearer, the gentle white noise of the country suddenly acute to her hearing.
She revelled in the cool breeze, the grasses tickling against bare shins revealed by her blue summer dress. She idly skimmed her hand over the heads of the wild flowers, riotously in flower, as she walked through the field, aware of the birdsong and the barely-awakened stars, beginning to wink in the heavens above their heads.
"It's a beautiful evening," He craned his head to gaze upon them, stopping at the fallow field's edge, a foot or so away from the dust track.
"It's been a while since it's been warm like this," she told him, coming to a stop at his side, though she maintained a respectable distance from him.
In the distance, angry blue-black puffs of cloud were collecting on the horizon like bruises. The sudden cool confirmed to her that perhaps the warm front had been rather long-lived, and that a storm was on its way.
When he offered her his hand to help her over the wooden step over the wooden fence encompassing the meadow, she found herself chuckling a little; He was always ready to utilize decorum, forgetting for a moment that they were good friends, and that she was probably strong enough to carry two over the steps.
"Don't be so unfathomably obtuse, Vincent," She giggled, delighted by his perplexed expression; creased brow, slightly parted lips, somewhat tensed muscles in his arms-as though he were ready for anything; be it fighting off the most fearsome monster, or simply having a conversation with her. It both distressed and amused her that to him, there was no distinction.
"Obtuse…" He repeated, savouring the word with approval. She turned away from him with her fingers interlaced behind her back, gazing up absently at the sky with a soft smile playing on her lips.
"I remember a poem that I read once."
"Seeing that movie; it made me think of it." She seated herself on the edge of the wooden fence, knees drawn up, facing the sun set. After a moment, Vincent came to stand beside her.
"Are you going to quote it?"
She giggled a little. She had never been the biggest fan of poetry, having more pressing matters to trouble herself with in her childhood. But she strained her memory; it had been one of the few that had captured her interest.
"Thy breath, it holds an eerie heat; of deserts spanning past my vision. Thy touch, it speaketh to me more/ than all the poet's exhibitions." She paused and glanced in his direction. He was smiling serenely, face relaxing into recognition.
"The stars, they shine within her eyes, reflecting boundless cobalt skies. No world henceforth could strive to capture, this endless bliss-" He effortlessly continued her poem, their voices one.
"-This wondrous rapture." She concluded the poem breathlessly.
She turned her face towards him, to find him staring at her intently, all reservations and decorum lost and forgotten. He was closer than she had realised, leaning back against the fence, arms crossed over his chest. Her curious gaze examined his features of its own free will; tracing his lips, his smooth forehead, his curiously dark eyes.
She couldn't fathom his expression. His lips formed a firm, thin line, brows level, neither tensed into a frown nor relaxed in a smile. His hardened stare was fixed upon her.
"You amaze me sometimes." He said after an eternity, shifting from his position against the fence. He placed one hand either side of her knees and leaned close, her breath catching in her throat as his face stopped several inches before hers. In the distance, she heard the rumble of thunder.
"Why is that?" She forced herself to ask, tightening her grip on the fence.
"You are so good at trying to pretend, you almost fool me. But I can see what you don't want me to see shining through."
She swallowed, lowering her head to shield herself from his scrutiny. Though she'd forgotten, of course, how close he had been, realising only when her forehead bumped against his. She glanced up in surprise, forced to stare into those eyes with such perplexing hues. They were amber, red, black, gold: everything.
Her stomach surged when she realised that he wasn't making any attempt to move away from her. She was petrified in place, turned to stone in the grip of his stare.
The tip of her nose brushed his, and she couldn't be sure which of them had made the move closer.
"I could never hope to fool you, Vincent." She spoke softly, though she could feel the warmth of her own breath against her cheek.
"Don't hold back. I learned that mistake, once." His breath was on her cheek now, and it prompted an involuntary shiver down her spine that she knew had not escaped him.
Of course, he had to know she loved him. He'd been there, through it all; Cloud's death, Marlene starting school, Denzel's illness. His presence had become a blanket for her. He always knew what to say to make her open up, to allow her to release her inner most emotions. He had to know her better than anyone.
And she had always liked to think she had the best of him. He didn't visit Yuffie, or at least, not as frequently, nor for as long. He was never comfortable around Cid and Barret; they were boisterous enough for everyone.
She had taken it in her stride that he had come to indulge in her company more often of late. Never had the possibility occurred to her that she could express what she tried so hard to hide. She knew, oh god, she knew how messy it could get, falling for someone so close to her. She'd done it once, and promised never again.
But as she sat perched perilously on that fence, staring silently at him, searching for the words in his whirlwind eyes, it occurred to her that this time was different. Vincent wasn't just anyone. He was a sensitive man, who had enough burdens for the both of them, who understood loss, and suffering, and nightmares. She had sought his council enough on all of them.
"What do you want me to do, Vincent?" She whispered, aware of her lip trembling. "You know how I feel."
"…" it was his turn to glance, away, suddenly exuding discomfort of his own. "I didn't mean to pressure you."
As if from nowhere, spots of rain began to fall, cooling her bare skin. She gave an involuntary shiver, though she was anything but cold. She was in fact, grateful for the rain.
"No," She ran a hand through her hair. "It's alright. Perhaps it's better this way." She laughed in spite of herself. "You know, when I was a younger and more foolish girl I used to think that it would happen like it did in the poems I read. You know, the kisses, falling in love..." She elaborated in answer to his raised brow. "The way the poet seemed to put his lover on a pedestal. I soon found out that life wasn't like that."
He stared quizzically at her, as if expecting some profound wisdom. She almost laughed- to think she could be consulted on love and romance… "But it can happen, sometimes, can it not?"
"You think so?" She felt her breath catch in her throat. She had her chance, this single chance to say it. To be honest—the only chance she would ever have. "So if I were to tell you that… that I love you, you would kiss me and everything would be just as I dreamed it?"
He gave in response, a faint smile, his eyes sweeping downwards to her trembling lips.
"Something like that." the rain was falling heavier now.
His face moved nearer still to hers, and she sucked in a breath. The air fell still, the world pausing in acknowledgment of the moment between them, holding them together in the twilight haze. Her eyes drank in the play of the impending shadows on his face, the curve of his mouth, so close to hers. A droplet of water arched its way down his cheek, coming to rest, trembling on his lip.
The night-birds began to call to one another from their respective roosts, though the clamouring served only to emphasise the isolation of where they were; Nobody else for miles around. For all she knew, they could be the last two people in the world. And she thought that she wouldn't mind it if it was so.
The thunder again. The air smelled heavily of the storm, and the scent of the rain on the parched grass was refreshing. But that didn't matter.
Her body was frozen in place, the rain now having soaked through her thin cotton dress. Vincent's façade never wavered, never faltered at all, and she wondered whether or not he was feeling the same—surely he could hear her flurried heartbeat?
The necessity for oxygen overcame her, forcing her to release the breath she had been holding onto, as if it might be her last. She drew in another shaky, audible breath—how loud it sounded to her! The tip of his nose now brushed softly against hers, his lips parting, breaths mingling…
She had been biting down on her lower lip for some time now; a subconscious habit she'd had as a kid. But as she desisted, that infinitely small distance between their mouths closed. She was aware of nothing else.
His fingers wound their way into her hair at the nape of her neck—pleasant little thrills travelled along her body in response to his touch. He nudged her lips apart, capturing her bottom lip in his own, drawing soft sounds from her that she had never made before. His tongue met hers, gently exploring, teasing… He tasted of the wine they had been drinking, of rain, summer, and of course, Vincent.
She wouldn't forget his taste for some time.
They were both soaked to the skin, her thighs now encircling his waist; Bodies pressed together, lips locked in a kiss, with a backdrop of sheet lightning against lavender skies. Her hair was plastered to the exposed skin of her chest and back, the fabric of her dress clinging to her every curve… rain-soaked curves that Vincent's fingers were gently beginning to explore.
But she finally knew; the poems were true, to some extent. She'd never known that she could want something so badly like she wanted this. She could only wish for endless bliss, though she knew; she knew that this was rapture.