Marceline was a ghost. She had disappeared. Again.
Four years was her record. Would she beat it this time? Stay away for six years? Seven? Forever?
Bonnibel was afraid to think about it. Marceline would never say why she left, not even when the princess nearly strangled the answer out of her. Her elusive behaviour was bad enough, but if she was truly gone again… It was too painful to consider.
On top of the Marceline situation, the stress of ruling the kingdom, listening to complaint after complaint after complaint, left Bonnibel tense and exhausted. The last time she reached such a point, Marceline had offered her a remedy.
Bonnibel ran a bath for herself. It had been a few weeks since she had one. It was soothing, but it wasn't the warmth of the water that calmed her.
She watched the bubbles pop as she relaxed into liquid bliss, trying not to think about anything. Emptiness was peaceful.
The door opened and Bonnibel turned her head.
Marceline floated in, a grim look marring her face.
Bonnibel's heart skipped, clenched, stopped.
"Marceline? What are you doing here?"
The vampire landed, feet heavy on the tiles. Her eyes had never smouldered so much, never held so much heat. Bonnibel was burning.
Marceline took off her shirt.
Unbuttoned her jeans.
Kicked off her boots.
Stripped down to nothing but skin.
Glorious smooth skin.
Bonnibel said nothing further as Marceline stepped over the edge of the bath. The tub overflowed and water splashed onto the floor.
Their knees bumped and Bonnibel waited for Marceline to say something. Bubbles popped. Crackled.
Marceline met Bonnibel's gaze.
"I'm sorry it took me so long."
The heat dwindled and Marceline's eyes weren't on fire anymore.
Bonnibel tilted her head.
"What are you talking about?"
"Bonni, I literally just got in a lumping bath with you and all you're doing is sitting there like it's no big deal."
"We've seen each other naked. Why would I have a problem with this?"
"The fact that you don't is what I'm talking about. I don't have a problem with it, either. Are you following me now, bozo?"
The princess shook her head.
"No. You're making zero sense, and the water is getting cold."
Marceline stared at her in astonishment and then she rolled her eyes.
"Jeez, and I thought I was the blind bat here. You're so slow. Let me make it obvious."
Marceline leant forward, hands on Bonnibel's knees. She spread them, slipped between them and kissed the princess. More water spilled onto the ground as Marceline wound her arms around Bonnibel's neck.
The princess tried to shove Marceline away, but her hands slid off the vampire's sleek shoulders uselessly. Marceline held her tighter, kissed her harder.
And then it hit her:
She was an idiot.
Fingers wove through wet hair, and Bonnibel held Marceline in place, kissed her back. God, she was an idiot.
When they parted, Marceline grinned.
"Looks like someone finally caught on."
"Hey, it's not like you said anything, you know."
"I didn't think I needed to."
"You needed to."
Marceline sat back, gliding through the water, the bubbles. She lifted a hand to swipe at the hair shielding her vision.
"Fine, fine," she said, smile brightening. "I love you, even though you can be kinda dense."
Bonnibel wanted to cry, but she fought the urge. She'd cried enough.
She smiled back.
"I love you, too."
There. The weight was gone. The burden, the fear that sat in the pits of her mind, once so heavy, gone. She was free and her heart was hammering. It was alive. She was alive.
They seemed to notice at the same time that the bubbles were fading and only clear bathwater was left. Bonnibel covered her chest with her knees. Marceline did nothing to hide herself.
"What made you come here today?" the princess asked.
"I was actually going to leave again. I didn't want to love you, Bonni. I never really thought you felt the same, but when I was about to pack Hambo, I remembered what you said to me about the shirt. I figured out then how you felt, so I came here."
"Is that why you left before?"
"Any other secret you want to tell me while we're at it?"
Marceline tapped her chin in mock thought. "I guess there's one thing I should tell you."
"My secret bath recipe."
Marceline had avoided telling her the recipe for so long. Pestering her did nothing. She held onto it as securely as she held onto the princess moments ago during that sweet kiss.
Bonnibel waited eagerly for the answer.
The vampire tipped her head back and laughed.
"I have no idea what it is. I made it up every time. Pretty sure I accidentally threw in some regular table salt at one point."
Bonnibel's jaw slackened.
"What the plum was the point of that?"
Marceline looked away, almost bashfully.
"I got to spend time with you."
The water was chilled, crystal clear and exposing. Bonnibel stretched out, blanketed herself over Marceline and kissed her.
Warm hands touched the notches in her back, traced them gently.
It wasn't cold anymore.
If anyone is interested, my muse for this story is a song called Octopus by King Krule. The music video was my inspiration, mostly.
When I started writing this little story, I wanted one chapter and no closure. Life is full of disappointment, and I wanted to capture that, but I understand that it can be sad. So very sad. My emotions won in the end, and I had a few nice readers encouraging me to continue, so I did. Honestly, I think it turned out better.
Also, I'd like to thank everyone who followed this story, added it to their favourites list, and reviewed. You're all quite lovely.
And remember: You can't help how you feel. Love is uncontrollable, and that's what makes it so beautiful… and terrifying.