"Love is an irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired." ~Robert Frost
Unholy thoughts. This was a first.
This woman gave birth to unholy thoughts in his head. And he liked it.
Baralai couldn't really blame Shuyin for evoking this sexual curiosity in him. The shadow might have planted the seed of attraction and fed it sunlight from the depth of his love for Lenne, but these emotions– respect, desire, hope– belonged to Baralai, and Baralai alone. They were always there, dormant and suppressed. Until now.
Yuna slipped her fingers into her extremely long hair and pulled it over her right shoulder, smoothing out what little knots she could find before idly weaving the tendrils into a braid. The rhythmic, sensual movement of her fingers and the light, lyrical sound of her humming absolutely entranced him. Baralai didn't even bother to conceal his blatant staring.
"It's hot..." Baralai complained, voice quiet and hoarse, fanning himself quite vigorously with the collar of his coat. Desperate for a distraction, he unfastened the knot of his thread that bound his collar, shedding the heavy green article of clothing once the heat became too unbearable to tolerate.
Draping it neatly on a nearby chair, laying it flat across the armrest, smoothing the folds and wrinkles from the fabric– his stalling couldn't have consumed more than 30 seconds.
He took to staring again, unable to help himself.
The innocent, provocative motions of her body, looking all coy and comfortable on his couch– the smile she gave when looking up from her handiwork, a warm, luscious, rosy pink– Baralai moistened his lips, all of a sudden feeling parched.
Another distraction, which kept him busy for another minute or so. He searched in the pantry for an empty cup (hard considering he wasn't looking with his brain), filling the glass with water from the sink, annoyed at how fast it all finished with a clumsy flourish. One glass of water wasn't enough to quench his thirst, though, and he hastily refilled it. Twice.
"Baralai, do you mind?"
He almost choked in his drink. "M-mind what?" Baralai stood stiff, clearing his throat to hide his unease, before jerking around to face her, suddenly wishing he hadn't. Her exotic eyes trapped him in its alluring gaze, of sweet cerulean and genteel jade, the liquid colors seeping into his senses and sizzling his blood pressure to high.
"Giving me some water," she said, her voice exquisite as a siren's call.
Baralai gulped thick, his adam's apple bobbling along with the nervous motion. His compliance came in the form of a dazed murmur. "Of course."
He turned around with his back to her, severing eye contact before her beauty could molest his retinas completely. Fumbling for another cup, Baralai soon filled it to the brim, almost forgetting his task while seriously immersed in a pleasurable daydream. The teenaged girl smiled once he trudged over with drink in hand and leaned forward to touch his face. "Thank you." Her voice was as tender as her affection, and his face burned from more than just the heat.
"You... you are welcome." Without delay, Baralai handed it to her. The tips of their fingers brushed. Brief eye contact, until both shyly looked away. She encircled her fingers around the glass and tilted it to her lips, drinking water with vigor that could rival an elephant.
He sat down on the couch beside her, chin propped on the knuckles of his fist, mind burrowed deep in contemplation.
Why did Gippal give Yuna the spare keys to his condo? Baralai had every right to feel suspicious, Gippal being the king of ulterior motives. For what reason did Yuna decide to visit him? It flattered him, of course, whenever the High Summoner graced him with her presence, but this– this whispered to Baralai of suggestive images not entirely unwelcome.
Baralai watched with fascination the way her neck rippled sensually after each gulp, trailing his eyes to follow the beads of sweat slowly streaming down her light skin. A navy blue tank top and denim mini shorts was all she wore; a rather tantalizing sight to behold with so much skin exposed. It went against Yevon's moral dress code, Yuna's new scandalous taste in clothing, yet he couldn't find himself to admonish her for it. Neither did he have Gippal's audacity to compliment how ravishing she looked.
Yuna suddenly moved closer, dangerously close, and he scooted back in panic, wary of her intentions. All revenues of escape were dashed once he could move nowhere else, except recline onto the armrest, head cushioned on a pillow. Yuna dared not stop in her advance, placing a hand on his chest, pushing to lean over him, stretching her body to set her glass of water on the small table behind him.
"Sorry," she said, smiling. The apology did not register in his mind, too busy admiring her naked cleavage to mind his manners. Yuna bent down, allowing her cropped hair to fall and frame her lovely smile, and cradled his face with her cold hands, a heavenly solace to his burning red cheeks. "You have such a pretty face." She giggled. "I'm jealous."
His breath hitched, hands tightening on the couch, when she lowered her hand and brushed a thumb across his neck; an intimate gesture she often did when the two were alone. He wondered if she possessed any idea the profound effect she had on his exhaustible temperance.
"You've said that before…" Baralai said with a bashful smile, averting his eyes again, trying to maintain his composure. Yuna was sure acting different today, he mused, bolder and much more open. Not like it bothered him or anything, rather, he liked where this was heading. Disappointment washed over him when she pulled away too soon. Instead of climbing off him, though, she straddled his waist and didn't look as if she wanted to move anytime soon.
"Can I ask you… another favor?" she asked, tentative, fiddling with his pant leg. Her demure and expectant look, the indecisiveness chewing at her fingernail– he loosened one hand and reached out to touch her knee, stroking at the skin with speechless comfort. Yuna appreciated the gesture, eyes soft and smile small, but still self-conscious. Dropping her gaze to his chest, she pinched the fabric of his tunic between her nails, and sighed a shaky breath. "...I want to, um, that is, if you want to... would you like to..."
Would he be willing to accept what she had in mind? It wasn't exactly family-friendly, but that's what she came to do in the first place: seduce him, and become lovers. With much meddlesome prodding from Rikku and 'enlightening' words of advice from Gippal, Yuna reluctantly followed through with this seduction ploy. Possible rejection made her hesitate and unwilling to progress any further.
Yuna groaned in dismay. If only the dread wouldn't stop gnawing at her conscience.
Perceiving her apparent distress, Baralai nudged her a little, grabbing her attention. Yuna lifted her chin so their eyes could meet and Baralai's brown eyes gave her reassurance through a silent look to proceed. "I want to massage you," Yuna blurted, feeling awkward, "that is, if you don't mind..."
How could he say no to a face which borderlined on being dangerously adorable? Baralai shrugged, subdued by her odd request. "Whatever milady wishes."
Pleased of his obedience, she pulled his tunic open with nonchalant care in order to gain more access of bare skin. When he did not protest, save for the blush and bashful eyes, Yuna drew on the latent talent she had cultivated from Chateau LeBlanc and begun her ministrations. She focused on relaxing him to lower his guard first, stalling the moment in order to calm her nerves, before she could move in and seize his heart.
Smoothing her hands down his chest, cupping his neck, stroking the sensitive skin in small, sensual circles, next moving her fingers to rub his shoulder joints– she kneaded the tense muscles wherever she could reach. He had long closed his eyes, releasing blissful sighs and quiet moans that sent chills down her spine.
Several minutes deep into it, basking in serene silence, and Yuna eventually spoke. "...how do you feel?"
His chest heaved a heavy and contented sigh. "Heavenly…"
Yuna paused when he stretched his sleepy body, straightening his arms, flattening his legs, sighing deep when all the pops hit the right places. Arms thrown back with hands resting above his head, face slack and innocent and peaceful– such divine exposure could only belong to the purest man in this continent. It roused Baralai from his sleepy stupor, her palm encircling his cheek, her fingers caressing the supple skin. His voice sounded slurred. "...milady?"
Her sultry whisper, its sound breezed into his ears, blowing all his thoughts and coherence from existence. His mouth parted under the intrusive touch of her thumb, the same finger that traced his upper lip and lingered there, far longer than necessary. Yuna made him forget what he wanted to ask. Did he say something beforehand? Baralai couldn't remember, and his eyebrows furrowed in dismay when her hand moved away.
The blue bandana that restricted his hair, it annoyed her for some reason. Yuna latched her fingers beneath the cloth, tugging it up to let it slide off his forehead. His hair fell, feathery and free, serving as a viel for his face. Tossing the cloth, she smoothed her hand through his silvery silk strands, tucking the long tresses behind his ears, enamored of his handsome, dark face.
Baralai shivered. Whatever she was doing, he didn't want her to stop.
Groping for his limp hand, she lifted it, caressing the fingers within her loving grasp. Her hands soon migrated to stroking his arm, fingers leaving behind a trail of friendly fire in its wake. One hand clutched his wrist while the other drifted to rub his bicep, her cheek laid bashfully on the back of his hand. His heart fluttered when Yuna's hand shifted to entwine its fingers in his, and then practically swelled when her face tilted to press an affectionate kiss on his hand. Lips so soft, so tender and moist, sinful sensations he shouldn't dare to think about, shouldn't be glad to delight in– but he did so anyway.
"What are you thinking about?"
This soft inquiry almost flowed through his ears unheard. With eyes still closed, he murmured the object of his desires. "You…"
Her eyes twinkled, pleased of his response. This proved she bypassed all of his defenses.
"Can I lie down? My knees are beginning to ache."
He nodded, enjoying the way she slipped into his open, lazy embrace, nestling inside the security of his arms, which curled around the arc of her back. Wriggling to get more snug, she stretched her legs out and relaxed them in the opening of his, slipping her arms around his neck, nuzzling her face to his own.
Yuna, and immodest intimacy. Only in his wildest imagination did he expect this.
"Comfortable?" She did not forego courtesy, much to his amusement, and he found himself humoring her– unaware of the heart-pounding effect his warm smile stimulated.
"Very much so."
She pecked his cheek, embarassed and feeling a little silly, pecking the corner of his mouth, soon closing the distance between their lips. He didn't respond at first out of sheer surprise. When she kissed him again, gentle and lingering, he applied pressure and leaned into it, this clandestine affection. The reporters would be all over this come morning, but Baralai could care less and reveled in the moment.
The kisses they shared were far from romantic, or magical. Sparks did not ignite. Hearts did not explode. It was impulsive, and awkward - but not unpleasant. Baralai felt so warm, and his lips… A soft candlelight, flickering, radiating warmth stronger than a blue flame, weaker than the summer sun– this heat ignited calm passion, and a quiet romance.
He had tasted like water, even in her dreams– cold, numb, soothing– a river pouring into her heart, overflowing, becoming an ocean of love, grief, joy, and sorrow for his light to shine on, forever distant and bright.
The last thing Yuna wanted to do was compare the two men; they were too different to warrant comparison. Yet her wayward, guilty heart couldn't find peace of mind in this choice without clinging on to some guarantee.
His fingers caressed her lower spine, violating a sensitive spot, and a hot tickle shot up her spine, inflaming her neck and face with pleasurable heat. She squirmed in his hold when the feeling refused to cease and she teared in the eyes when overwhelmed by the lust. Yuna let loose a shuddering whimper.
"I'm nervous…" It bewildered her when Baralai stopped, suddenly occuring to her he had heard her words of doubt and had listened, true to his sympathetic nature. Baralai silently motioned to Yuna to sit up and give him some space, something she felt absolutely reluctant to do. Feeling jilted, Yuna avoided eye contact out of timid shame, and scolded herself severely for having hesitated at the last moment, when she was so close…
Straightening the flaps of his tunic, using deliberate and slow motions to wrap them around his torso, he eventually tucked the hem beneath the waistband of his pants. A tease he was– concealing the skin she touched not five minutes ago. She watched him brush the hair out of his face, seeing it fall and curtain his eyes, loving the way this casual new look accentuated his handome features. Her heart throbbed, overcome with longing, wishing she could dig her fingers into the softness of his hair and kiss him again, but feared she wasn't allowed to.
"I'm flattered you approach me in this manner, milady." Startled that he addressed her, Yuna willed her gaze to acknowledge the Praetor properly. He gave a knowing look, and a sly smile. "However, it so happens I do not have any contraceptives in stock. Will you accompany me to the supermarket?"
Baralai was hardly the gentleman he made himself out to be, Yuna would soon come to realize in bed.
(A/N): Yay, finally got this finished. It took too freakin' LONG!! XD, yeah, hoped you enjoyed it.