A small boat floats on the glossy surface of the black lake, a scale miniature in comparison to the ancient castle that looms on the hillside above it. Billowy white clouds lounge across the blue sky overhead, a testament to the lazy torpor that governs this warm June day.
No tiller nor oars are visible in the boat, for none are needed. In this place, magic is the steersman and propeller. An observer marks the bare leg, female in its curvature, hooked over the side of the boat, toes trailing in the cool water. The observer takes flight, launching itself from a nearby tree to soar high above the lake on a rising thermal, then banks, wheeling and circling lower for a closer view.
A girl and a boy lie stretched out nearly the length of the boat's keel, basking in the sunlight. The boy is asleep, his head pillowed on the girl's stomach, mouth slightly agape, hands folded across his chest. His glasses sit askew on his nose. The girl is awake, reading, one hand holding her book at an angle to block the sun's glare, the other idly tracing a zigzag mark on her companion's brow. They look relaxed, untroubled, peaceful. Enchanted.
With a slight jerk the girl retracts her foot from the water. A rivulet trails down her ankle to drop from the muscle of her calf. "Shoo," she says firmly to the tentacle that has emerged from the water where her foot had just been to crook over the side of the boat, dripping water over the pair. "Get back in the water." Its sigh imagined rather than heard, the tentacle slips back down to disappear beneath the surface.
The sudden movement causes the boat to rock gently, which stirs the boy from his snooze with a mumbled, "Hm?" He reaches up to re-position his glasses, but his eyes remain closed, though a contented smile twitches at the edges of his mouth. He reaches out to caress the girl's leg.
"Mm." With a grunt he turns over on his side to glide his hand further up the girl's leg, beyond the hem of her skirt.
Her breath catches. Her movements careful, she retrieves her bookmark and sets down the volume she'd been reading. With a slight tug--using both hands, now--she coaxes the boy closer. "You might as well have not come at all, you've spent so much time sleeping." A smile curves her cheeks as she leans forward to kiss him.
Ending the kiss, he pulls back to rest his head on her breast. "Sorry," he murmurs, his hand now stroking upwards along her rib cage to cup her other breast, his thumb skimming across the rounded surface. "Kingsley's had me on night shift the past two weeks. Privilege of being a novice, he says."
Arching slightly into his touch, the girl slides her hand down the boy's back, her fingers slipping adroitly beneath the edge of his shirt to fan out across the warm skin of his lower back, teasing at his waistband. "When do you have to be back on duty?" she murmurs into his mouth.
His teeth tug gently at her lower lip, then release it. "I should leave after supper."
Her laugh emerges as a low vibrato hum. She shifts her weight, cradling the boy's hips between her thighs, and pushes her hand down the back of his trousers. "Plenty of time, then."