DISCLAIMER: Guiding Light is a product of Proctor & Gamble, and aired by CBS. The characters of Olivia and Natalia (played by Crystal Chappell and Jessica Leccia respectively) are the creative property of the show and its producers. I am in no way affiliated with the show, nor do I make any profit from writing this.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The idea was inspired by the song by Nouvelle Vague and Camille and the amazing performances of the actresses throughout the series. This was intensely interesting to write, although quite hard with all the body language; there are so many factors and subtle complexities to their relationship. This is an exploration of their inner-selves (and my interpretation thereof) as much as anything else. Be forewarned that I've put precedence on poetic licence as opposed to structural integrity as a result! If the beginning is a little bit of a patchwork, I apologise; I had to go back and change the tense it was written in. See, the characters ended up drawing this in a direction I didn't initially intend, and they kind of took control of it, but I'm glad it happened that way. In short, it's a first-time love scene, but that understates so many aspects of this as a representation of what Otalia has come to mean to me, and to all of us as a community, how much we all care about these two characters. I just attempted to do them justice. I hope it does that, and, ultimately, I guess I just hope you feel an inkling of the love I poured into this. Geez, I didn't realise I was such a romantic until I wrote this. I mean, I'm usually so freakin' clinical. I must have been listening to too much Enya or something.
SPOILERS: This doesn't refer to anything that has happened or will happen in the storyline, but it is set in the near future.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

In a Manner of Speaking
By Badgersprite


Emerald expressions. Cerulean stares. A celadon sanctuary. Falling into ethereal forests of jade, she felt no desire to catch herself. Gravity took its course, and drew her further into the glimmering gaze, through golden gates, into the garden of creation. Granted a glimpse of Eden. Glory be to God.

Momentarily, the mysterious ministry of Morpheus beckoned the beautiful colours to venture behind content yet weary lids, briefly fluttering shut. Her heart ached when the enrapturing enchantment ended. Olivia's eyes had always enticed her. She said everything in her silence. One glance felt like the most intimate exchange – a thousand uninterrupted years of raw, unfiltered conversation would have fallen far short. For so long, though, they'd been looking elsewhere, unable to endure their supposedly unrequited connection, denying it, submerging Natalia in darkness, dulling her senses. The deprivation had left her deaf, adrift amidst the anarchy, alone, in a voiceless void, her words an unheard hush, failing to breech the barrier that barred her from the world at large. But that was behind them now. Wasn't it?

Subconsciously, she stroked her cheek, searching for the soul that saw hers; the recognition that reminded her of her own reality – her existence. She couldn't stand to experience another instant that wasn't in her sight, let alone an incessant night. Restless slumber. If only sleep could have been shared between spirits, instead of serving as sorrowful separation. She wished for such blessed mercies.

Stay awake. Fingers whispered across the seemingly endless expanse of snow white sheets. Just a little longer. Please. I can't bear the way I feel when I'm without you.

Without hesitation, emerald eyes emerged once more from the lure of shadows. Don't worry. I'm not going anywhere. Bound to bringing Natalia happiness, she would have done anything her humble heart desired. Olivia would have plucked shafts of light from the fabric of time and space itself, and woven the resplendent waves into a web that shone with every shade of the spectrum, if she so wished it. If it made her smile.

Hypnotising eyes mesmerised the younger woman. A caress of clarity ushered obscurity into echoes of the waning whirlwind, as all else settled. Natalia felt warm, as if wrapped in peaceful palms, enveloped in paradisium, protected. The purity that shone in her stare showed her a pristine place kept in the heart known simply as Home. They were there. Together. They belonged.

I can't believe you're here. Olivia's gaze evoked in effervescent embers of emotion that twinkled in the twilight, transfixing Natalia, who experienced every unconscious thought in its entirety, as if each one was born from her own entity. Expressions beyond words, conveyed in the quiet. Suddenly, there was a shift. I'm scared.

Natalia shivered when she felt it. She knew it was true. Olivia hadn't been able to bring herself to touch her yet, as if paralysed by the possibility that, when she finally dared to reach out, her hand would pass straight through the vision, and the figment of her imagination would fade away, leaving her stranded in perpetual loneliness. Something had to happen. Something had to go wrong. She wasn't supposed to be loved.

Intimately familiar with similar anxieties, Natalia empathised, and a tender caress told her soulmate so, needing no words. By contrast, she couldn't tear herself away, stricken with an insatiable need to touch Olivia, and maintain continuous contact, if only to prove to herself that she was real. Hence, she clung to her, feeling her beneath her fingertips, frightened that, if she let go, she might float away, and she would have to feel the agony of being without her again. Resting only on a foundation of clouds, Heaven seemed so fragile, threatened by the storms of infinite tomorrows.

We have now. Said Natalia's hand when it brushed stray strands of hair away from Olivia's spellbinding stare, soothing her uncertainty, sweeping concerns aside. They were together then, and neither of them had disappeared, nor were they dispersing into clouds of dreamlike dust. Doubts had disturbed them both for far too long. Didn't they deserve a moment of sweet self-delusion? Can't we just lie here, and let the moment last a little longer?

I don't think that's enough. A narrow inclination of Olivia's eyebrows replied. Once I let myself believe I can have this with you, I'm never going to be able to let you go. Vulnerability shimmered in the depths, unguarded, exposed.

Neither will I. Her hand wandered lower, curled fingers gently grazing her skin, settling beneath her chin, urging her not to glance away – to stay with her. They both knew that already. It wasn't the threat of rejection that they found so terrifying. It was the fact that they could be together. Once they took that step, they lost control. They surrendered parts of themselves they couldn't mend. They were confronted with their worst fears, inflicting their flaws and failings on somebody who meant more to them than life itself. So fragile. What if it didn't work out? What if they could never recover their friendship? Or, worse, what if they allowed a relationship to blossom, and they became one of those couples who made each other miserable, and spent the rest of their lives that way? I can't promise you a future. I don't know what will happen to us anymore than you do. Natalia's palm fell atop Olivia's heart, cradling the pulse that softly beat inside her chest. But, right now, you're everything to me.

A sad smile tugged at the corner of Olivia's lips, unable to stop herself from breaking their stare, blinking at the saline sting of unshed tears that swelled inside. Everything is more than I can afford to lose. A love this intense was a dangerous thing. Watching it crumble, and vanish, would be a heart condition she could never recover from.

Her pain was palpable. Natalia swallowed and averted her gaze, needing a short pause to recover her equilibrium, clutching to her amore's low-cut, long sleeved top, and the second one she wore underneath it, which covered her chest to a somewhat less-than-modest degree. But we're already losing each other. She trembled ever so subtly at the thought, but it felt like an earthquake surging through the bed. Olivia's gingerly grasped her wrist, drawing her eyes back to her own as they searched frantically for the source of her obvious despair. The younger woman linked their fingers together, and led the hand adjoined with hers up to her lips. I'm never going to be more ready than I am right now. Not tomorrow. Not the day after. If we can't take a leap of faith now, we never will.

Olivia's eyes wavered, unable to dispute that assertion. The risk would never fade, and the fears would never subside. Walking away once would just make it easier to retreat the next time. It was admitting defeat before they'd even started. Maybe that's for the best. She thought, not wanting Natalia to discover the pain and bitterness that accompanied each of her five divorces. Nausea wracked her system as she imagined waking up one morning to see hatred marring that angel's divine disposition. Or in the mirror, when, for the first time in her life, she could finally see her features reflected without fury, or frustration at whatever force ruled the Universe. She couldn't let that happen to them.

Taken aback, Natalia let go of her hand. Do you really mean that? She shifted forwards, her arm migrating around Olivia's middle, communicating through touch, tenderly trailing a path over her stomach. Because, honestly, I can't be this close to you and not have you...not know what we are. Her eyes dipped down to follow her fingers, which had found the sliver of skin in between her shirt and her pants, and were teasing the edges of the fabric with a torturously slow pace. Implicit actions, eliciting explicit images. So, are we just friends? Her careful caress inquired, circling the same spot, waiting for permission to continue their exploration, or to be pushed away.

Incredulously, her head snapped up, fixing Natalia with a wide-eyed expression. You're making me choose now?! In their silence, the change in her breathing was audible as an atom bomb, adrenaline flooding her system.

Yes. Was the blunt reply, as Natalia deftly dipped below the material, delving under her duo of tops, splaying over the skin of her lower abdomen, nails gently raking silky skin as her fingers spread, delighting at the feel of the body beneath them. Because you already know the answer. Her hand gradually worked its way higher up Olivia's stomach, the air an icy cold on her bare flesh in the wake of the damn near scalding hot touch, which paused only to playfully draw a circle around her navel, tempting her. So, are you going to stop me?

Oh, great. Put the onus on me. Real original. Olivia rolled her eyes and looked up at the ceiling with a huff of displeasure. After a moment or two had passed, she cast a glance towards Natalia out of the corners of her eyes, squinting scrupulously as the minute ministrations persisted unabated. This isn't fair. How do you expect me to push you away? You know how I feel about you.

Natalia's hand continued to climb, crawling up her side. Thank you for making my point for me. Green eyes fluttered shut as the luscious strokes stimulating her skin grew bolder, firmer, seeking to coax a reaction from her. One way or another, her resolve would be broken, but she was stubborn, and bit her lip, knowing that, if she disturbed the silence, it would be to say things and give excuses she didn't really mean. Gently, the younger woman squeezed at her side, urging her to look into her eyes, and speak to her. Hey. I thought we'd finally stopped hiding. Releasing a breath, Olivia's head reluctantly turned, and their gazes locked once again. Fingers froze, fearing that she may have crossed a line, even if she had been pushed over it, resorting to desperate measures. Why are you so distant?

I don't want you to get close to me. Her irises quivered with the urge to withdraw once again. To disappear behind a thick fortress of tried and true defence mechanisms, but she willed herself not to pull away. This was too important. Natalia deserved better than that. Whatever it is you think you see in me, it's not there. One day you're going to look at me and realise I can't give you what you want. What you need to make you happy. The tear had fallen before she even realised it had formed. And then I'll lose you.

Oh, bullpucky! Wrapping her arm around Olivia, she abruptly drew her closer, into a loose embrace, nothing between them but a pair of unshakeable stares. As her fingers clung to her back, Natalia's free hand cupped her cheek, as precious as porcelain and paling under the pressures of a perilous heart, her thumb gathering the stray droplet that had escaped the mask. You don't get to tell me what makes me happy. If you knew that, you'd know I'm miserable when I'm without you. Their gazes intertwined, tying their hearts and minds together, inscribing every instantaneous impulse into the other. You know, you say you just want me to be happy, and you've given me so much, but you won't give me the one thing I need. Her touch snaked higher, finding the back of her shoulder beneath the fabric of her clothes, grasping the beautifully fragile woman laid bare in front of her. I need you.

Natalia... she stifled a sob, leaning into the touch that caressed the dampness beneath her viridian vision, verily verged on the brink of being swallowed whole by the overwhelming love that consumed her soul. I can't give myself to you. I'm already yours.

For a moment, there was nothing beyond the aftermath of her unspoken revelation. Natalia's hand descended, finding hers, wafting over her fingertips, held in front of her aching chest. Then why can't I have you?

The decision is yours. Olivia didn't pull away, nor did she move closer, her unblinking stare as passive as a feather in the wind, and yet as heavy as dark matter. It's not about what I want, because I'll be here no matter what. This has to be right for you.

Both of us. Beneath her clothes, Natalia's palm drifted away from her back, coming to a rest barely below her breast, though it scarcely managed to keep still as all the tension between them began to burgeon, a fresh burden to add to the already momentous weight on her tiny shoulders. You're everything to me. I need this, but I also need this to feel right for you.

You know it does. Replied a swift flash that sped across Olivia's gaze, an almost imperceptible change of shade. But she refused to budge. She wouldn't give Natalia any lead to follow, for fear that she would simply go with the flow, and live to regret it, as she had done before.

Little did she know her resistance was tearing Natalia's heart into fragments, like paper shredded into scraps of confetti. Why are you making me do this without you? She couldn't enter into this alone. Her fingers trembled where they lay, nails softly digging into Olivia's skin, as if she could feel her slipping through her grasp. Confusion. Mixed signals. Why won't you give anything back to me?

Honestly, you don't want to know the things I want to do to you right now. A passionate spark set Olivia's eyes ablaze with flames of lust. The set of her stare, the slight quirk of her brow, it was almost a challenge. That was a part of their relationship she was sure Natalia wouldn't be able to reciprocate. And, with the way she was touching her, she didn't think she would be able to restrain her desire for much longer.

Wha--? Oh. That was unexpected. It succeeded in throwing Natalia for a loop, her heart pounding in her chest at the unbridled desire directed her way in a look more potent than sunlight. She needed a few seconds to find Earth again, and gather her wits, which had been left little more than a puddle of melted mush on the floor by the images emblazoned in her mind. She held firm, maintaining their eye contact, knowing hers reflected the same hunger. That doesn't scare me. You don't scare me. Her nerves buzzed with electric energy, imparted to her partner when she curled her fingers, and dared to graze the underside of her breast, eliciting a deep, burning breath. I need you. All of you.

She blinked in incredulity. She hadn't expected her to react that way when confronted with the carnal element of their amour. After all, it was easy to forget that she was a woman of unparalleled passion, who yearned to express it, and craved it in return. It must have slipped Olivia's mind, since she hadn't predicted that Natalia's fingers would tighten, as though desperate to possess her, if only for one instant of intimacy, nor imagined her eyes roaming her body with raw, insatiable longing to pursue her all-powerful love to completion.

Abruptly, Olivia's hand seized hers through the fabric, halting it, attracting her gaze, searching her, in earnest for any signs of uncertainty, not sure she could handle the answer she was receiving. What are you doing? Asked her eyes, although she was afraid she knew exactly what was threatening to evolve between them. Hell, it already had, but she hadn't expected to be confronted with the perplexing and perilous prospect of pursuing it so abruptly.

If you don't want this, I'll stop. Natalia didn't fight against Olivia's seizure of her hand, yet she didn't withdraw from its precarious position, either, trusting her instincts. She didn't want to risk provoking the volatile situation, but she was more unwilling to let fear stand in the way of true love, and bid them both to walk away. But I can't go on like this. I can't be so far away from you, but so close, unable to define what we are to one another. I need to be able to give myself to you, completely, because I've got nothing left that isn't already yours.

Except this. Clever eyes countered. Are you ready for that? Really? Her gaze dipped to Natalia's chest, her free fingers reaching up, toying with the cross, hanging from her neck, the burden of sin, the betrayal of the Church that, literally, stood between them. God, the Messiah, and the Holy Spirit. And, in the opposing corner, wearing couture trunks, Olivia Spencer, waiting for the bell to ring. Can you honestly tell me that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this isn't wrong?

No. I can't. Natalia encouraged her to embrace the small yet omnipresent crucifix, as her hand enclosed around Olivia's. But I know what I feel for you is right, because a love this strong can only come from God, and He will never lead me astray. That's why they call it faith. A smile crossed her lips as she pressed a kiss to her beloved's fingers, still cradling the thin pendant of the cross.

God is love. She remembered the wise words she had been given in guidance when all hope seemed lost, even if Natalia couldn't follow her into the memory. God isn't necessarily sex, though. Olivia raised a brow, pointedly. In fact, I'm pretty sure Satan owns the rights to it.

Maybe. Natalia silently conceded, releasing her hand, which, in turn, let go of the cross. But, when it comes to sin, they say thoughts are the same as actions. Her eyes travelled down to her fingers as they crept higher up her chest, tingling with magnetism as they tentatively traced the patterns in the lacy material of Olivia's undergarment. And I've thought about this. A lot. And the temptation was too great to resist. She needed to touch her, to taste her, or else the thoughts would continue to persist, and drive her to insanity.

But what about us? Asked Olivia's gaze, crawling with anxiety for all the cruel potential outcomes her paranoia had managed to fathom. Once we cross this line, you won't be able to go back. I won't be able to...to be just a friend. And if you regret this, I... it would destroy her. This changes everything between us.

Natalia knew that, of course. And it was frightening beyond belief, contemplating having to surrender their future, and their friendship to the often unfriendly fortunes of fate. The consequences were inconceivable, if something went awry, but yet, on the other hand... What if I want those changes? Her thumb caressed Olivia's lips, her eyes overflowing with unabashed adoration, flooding every last fibre of her being. To be with her, truly, together, for even a moment, was perfection. Tomorrow was a mystery, and she couldn't divinely define what the next day would bring, nor assure herself that her sensitive heart would be safe, once she severed the last shackles that kept them from melding together. But she knew that letting her go, not even taking the chance...that was one thing she would definitely regret. She couldn't do it. She couldn't will herself to walk away. She'd tried once, and every day died a little more inside. She wasn't subjecting anybody to that again. She knew what she wanted.

Olivia had to glance down, averting her eyes, if only to grant herself a reprieve long enough to repress her tears. Don't hurt me. Her evasion wordlessly whimpered, in the way she nearly flinched away from Natalia's touch.

At the reaction, she hesitated, debating whether to retract her advances. It hadn't entered her mind that Olivia wasn't ready for this. In hindsight, she should have considered it, but she'd grown accustomed to looking up to her, admiring how she always seemed so grounded, so confident in what she was after, so impervious. Natalia held her closer, fingers delicately drifting over her forehead. Hey. It's okay. I couldn't hurt you. I won't. I promise.

You already are. Her haunting, heartfelt harlequin irises arose to meet her once more, sincere cerulean stripped naked, and spread bare beneath the sight of the woman she loved. It hurts when you touch me. It hurts to look at you. Because you shouldn't be here. I shouldn't be able to have you.

Fingers flexed firmly against her flesh. You do. Resolve strengthened, Natalia gently rolled Olivia onto her back, shifting closer beside her, as her digits descended, kindling cascades of sensuous sparks where her palm stroked satin skin. I'm right here. I'm real. I'm not going anywhere. And she intended to remind her of that. Both hands found the bottom of her long sleeved t-shirt, where they gripped the material, and began to slide it upwards.

Stop. Olivia pushed her wrists down again, linking her forefinger and thumb together around the slender arms. If you're trying to prove something to me, you don't have to. Not if you—

Just let me! Natalia tugged free of her grip, looking away from Olivia's eyes, cutting off her side of the quiet conversation – she couldn't bear to see those unspoken expressions – as her hands once more reached for the hem of her top, and hitched it higher above her hips. Please. I need this. Don't make me keep this bottled up anymore. With a growing sense of guilt, her motions temporarily ceased. She didn't want to take anything. She wanted to be given her love and trust, by choice. With that in mind, she again sought her gaze, and regained it, a genuine apology in her own. I'm sorry, it's just... She clasped her waist, weakly. It's killing me, having to hide what I feel...not being allowed to love you.

Empathetic emerald unremittingly embraced her, understanding fingers tangling in raven locks. She knew what that was like; to be surrounded by things and by faces that should have brought her joy, yet ache with the sorrows of loneliness, like a stranger had possessed her spirit, leaving her helpless against her own heart. Overwhelmed by love, and out of control, everything inside vanishing when the object of her affection went away, because her entire entity now belonged to another, and all that remained was hollow without her. Don't be in pain. I don't want you to feel that way.

I'm fine when I'm with you. She reassured her, slowly running her hands up and down her sides, releasing a soft sigh of contentment at the warmth emanating from Olivia. Her touch. She smiled, faintly, as her shimmering stare spoke for itself, through the love that shone within. It's funny. I looked into your eyes, thinking I'd figure out more about you, but I found myself there instead. Natalia nestled up close to her, curling up against her chest, resting her head on her heart beat, breathing her in, peacefully, all woes washed away by the proximity of her presence. Home. You show me who I can be. And I want to be that person. I like who I am when I'm around you. I like the person that you see. I don't ever want to let go of that. Her touch began to move once more, slowly climbing her chest, on top of her clothes, until it fell directly in her line of sight, coyly tracing circles on her top, scantly covering her cleavage. I want to find that side of myself again. Because, truthfully, I didn't like the person I was when we were apart.

How could you not love yourself? Olivia glanced at her in abject amazement, as clear as day even though the shadows drenching the bedroom in dim darkness. Have you seen you?

No. I haven't. Natalia quietly confessed, peering down at her, the shell split wide open, letting out the forgotten girl left locked inside long ago. But you do. The bed depressed ever so slightly to accommodate her movement as she shifted back onto her side, resting on her elbow, all but hovering above Olivia, her free hand draped over her, following the path of her shoulder, along her neck, until her fingertips teased the line of her jaw. Please don't deny me the only person who makes me feel real. The only true love I've ever known.

Do you honestly believe that'll be enough for you? Olivia's fragile forest green eyes faltered, still so afraid that Natalia would cut her fingers on the broken shards of her damaged psyche if they were together. Because I don't have anything else to offer.

Her hand migrated to the bed, next to Olivia, and the other followed suit on the opposite side, supporting her as she moved to hold herself above her, looming over her, as she'd longed to do. Give me back the missing piece of my heart and we'll call it even. Without so much as a whisper, Natalia leaned down and kissed her.

She gasped when at last they met, struck with a surge of electricity that stirred a shuddering shockwave that shot through her system, seizing her senses, even sending a short, sharp spasm through parts of her, unexpectedly, shivering across her skin. Suddenly, she understood the origins of the phrase 'blown away', stunned that she hadn't been physically flung against the far wall by the force that flowed from her beloved's lips, or knocked unconscious when she tasted the enticing fires that flourished there. On the contrary, she was drawn deeper, her body descending over the woman she so desperately desired. Olivia. Everything.

Consumed by the kiss she could no longer recall not craving, Olivia could sense nothing beyond the ecstasy of the half-crazed contact. Not the teardrop that trickled from the corner of her left eye, squeezed closed, and onto the sheets. Indeed, she was only peripherally aware of the incoherent, seemingly endless stream of emotions that exploded from her heart, even as the swell engulfed her, overwhelming her last echoes of resistance.

Love. All else faded but love. But she couldn't reach up and take Natalia, even as the younger woman poured every last ounce of her boundless passion between her parted lips. She could only submit. Still so scared.

Driven by need, Natalia convinced herself to ignore the silence, if only for a moment longer, even if she knew she shouldn't have. She didn't want to think about what would happen when their embrace ended, when she couldn't retract her intensity. When they were linked, the Universe fell into oblivion, leaving naught but her, and Olivia, the beautiful being who defined her, who had captivated her soul, and unintentionally possessed her, finally united. Now that they were one, she couldn't stand to imagine any distance in between them. She didn't dare entertain the notion.

Their connection was all that kept them afloat, all that enabled them to avoid drowning in the torrential tide of terror they called tomorrow. Everything that came after. Morning was a word that wrenched at the strings of sanity itself. Invested, as they were – hell, already spent – they couldn't permit themselves to contemplate the cost.

It would have been less cruel to touch but once, and know they were dying, if but to dull the dread.

Only when a lack of oxygen nagged at Natalia's nerves did she locate the courage to break their kiss, resting her forehead against Olivia's as she summoned the strength to see what she'd done, and receive whatever was silently spoken inside astonishing gems of jade. But her eyes were closed, and showed no signs of returning from the safe place they'd found shelter in, unwilling to risk the storm. Their conversation was unceremoniously rendered mute.

Natalia's thumb wiped away remnants of wetness from beneath her eyes, coaxing them to open. I can't hear you. Lost in a barren abyss of deafness, shutting down as the darkness obscured all else, pressing against each of her senses, deadening sound and sight. She was blind without those blazing, bright green beacons to guide her. Directionless.

Swallowing her caustic anxieties, Olivia bravely ventured to open one eye, just a sliver. She'd felt her presence there, of course, but that didn't mean she wasn't surprised to see Natalia sitting there, hovering above her, nervously anticipating her response. You're still here? She looked awestruck, amazed, although it was unclear what alternative she had expected. She just never attached her hopes to the ideal of a positive outcome. Not anymore. So...you won't run away? You won't leave me? You promise.

Promise. Natalia lay at her side, recovering her breath, not even bothering to try and bring her boiling bloodstream back down to a sustainable simmer. One arm perched where Olivia's neck met her shoulder, and the other fell somewhere in between them, caressing her fingertips. Never did she break eye contact. She needed to see her. Experience those enchanting expressions of Elysian emerald emotion. And be seen in return. Stay with me. Okay?

There was no less fear, nor fewer worries than there had been before. But she trusted her. Unselfish, saint Natalia. Such a pristine person. An angel. She would do anything she said. Anything she asked. Okay.

It was easy to see why she would give Natalia anything she asked for. When she smiled, she glowed, radiating warm rays of sunlight that could roll back the Winter. That was reward enough. On that occasion, she also received a semi-playful peck on the cheek. Thank you for believing in me.

Her hand headed lower, running over Olivia's top, sailing over stomach, until she found the hem of her long sleeved garment, and wandered underneath it, with no signs of hesitation in the older woman's stare to arouse any worries as she hiked it higher, not allowing it to obstruct the free roam of her fingertips. Obeying her unspoken request, she never looked away. Never anywhere but those soft brown eyes, so devoted, so devout. Faith, Hope and Charity. She cherished Natalia's cherubic nature. The only one that had reached her. Changed her, for the better. Far more than a friend, more, even, than a lover. A teacher. She was her truth.

Warmth rose, covering her bare abdomen, banishing Springfield's perpetual chilly temperatures, casting them aside, forbidden from disturbing their privacy. Transfixed in mutual bewitchment, they barely brought themselves to blink. Watching, unwavering. No. More than that. Awakening.

Olivia lay still. She didn't need to move. Those omnipotent orbs exuded every subconscious impulse of a response elicited by her touch. Natalia was grateful for that. The intensity inside her invigorating eyes ignited an inferno, engulfing her in the intricacies inspired by this intuitive insight. Any greater reaction might just have undone her outright. She was only human. She could only endure so much euphoria.

A million words from a thousand languages ancient and new alike could not have accurately encapsulated the unique, unfiltered expression conveyed within her depths. And yet, it was so clear. So precise. She knew exactly what her silence spoke. Telling her nothing, yet encompassing eternity, stretching to the obfuscated edges of the Universe, and contracting, compressing all that ever had been, all that would be, and the energy that bound it all together, into a single gaze.

Monotheism must have been mistaken. Surely, a myth. Because she was a Goddess. Alpha, Omega. Olivia.

Natalia's silent sign language seemed to simplistic in comparison. So inconsequential. Still, it spoke, nonetheless. Let me worship you. Her hands asked, answer received when Olivia arose, allowing the younger woman to slide her shirts past her shoulders, over her head, briefly severing their essential union of sight, until the sleeves slipped free of her arms, and the garments were haphazardly discarded, somewhere in the darkness.

Gentle yet insistent pressure persuaded her to ease back against the mattress, her head lovingly captured by the pillow that retained Natalia's subtle scent. She couldn't detect the bed beneath her, though. She'd forgotten it was there. She felt like she was floating on the feathered wings of whimsical fantasy, whisked into wondrous flight, swept into a sanctuary that couldn't exist outside of a wish. Yet there she was. Rescued, at last, from the monsters that stole her innocence, and savagely destroyed her ability to dream by plunging her mercilessly into a world of never ending nightmares, depriving her of peace for so long.

But, in her arms? Serenity. Salvation. Her saviour. Sacred seraph sent from above. A miracle. A sign she had not been forsaken. Transcendent soul.

And her eyes said it all. A limitless ocean of love reflected in her dazzling depths, undying adoration, undiluted, and it was undoing her. Natalia felt drunk, drawn to revel in the addictive high as she swam through seas of celadon, deliciously lost inside her soulmate. Possessed by incomparable passion; her actions became her expression.

Her fingers had found her intoxicating flesh on instinct alone, unaided by the conscious mind, consumed by a haze. Somewhere along the way, however, Natalia regained a grip on her mind's scattered puppet strings, plummeting back into reality. She hesitated, her hand hovering halfway between Olivia's breasts, naughty nails already beginning to sneak beneath her bra. I have no idea what I'm doing. How am I supposed to...? I've never done this before.

Insecurity was quickly calmed by what was reflected in her gaze. Compassion. Care. Completion. An anchor against turbulent anxieties. Don't worry. All I want is to be with you.

Reigning in her worries, Natalia released a soft sigh, relaxing in the wake of her reassurance. She wished her eyes contained the capacity to communicate exactly what she couldn't successfully articulate, the way Olivia's could. But she knew another way, which fixed this complex conundrum. Through the incantations of her touch, a tangible tribute to her temple, her love could be conveyed to perfection. Ecstasy. It was the closest she could come, to intertwine their spirits, if only for an instant, and give her a glimpse into her absolute infatuation. To feel her. Fully. Infinitely.

Whether you know it or not, I'm already yours. She caressed her arm as she carefully reached around to unhook her bra. Her success came quite quickly, whether that was due to luck or skill (or a combination of the two) she couldn't discern, but Natalia's coy little smirk of accomplishment was inconceivably cute irrespective of the answer.

You are indeed full of surprises, Miss Rivera. A wolfish glint in Olivia's eyes implied, making Natalia blush and bat her eyelashes as she barely managed to hold back a shy giggle. The heat in her conveniently tanned cheeks only increased as she peeled away the older woman's bra, revealing her luscious breasts. Do my eyes deceive me? Or are you...? There was no doubt. She was definitely eyeing her up. The hotelier cocked a brow. Innocent, my ass.

Distracted though she was, it was impossible to miss the message written across that scrumptiously self-satisfied smirk. Natalia had the decency to look a little embarrassed, but she stubbornly stood firm, wordlessly declaring that she was unashamed of herself when she shifted closer, half on top of her, practically, yet still beside her on the bed. It's not my fault. Her hand, which had perched on Olivia's hip, indulged itself in enjoying its ascent over the expanse of her slender stomach, ministrations magically manipulating muscles beneath to contract under her chemical touch, manoeuvring towards her magnificent mounds of sensuous flesh. No one can think pure thoughts around you.

Point taken. A heavy breath beneath hungry fingertips signalled the shift as a sexual smoke veiled once viridian eyes, a magnetic shadow emerging from the mist, moving the colour closer to myrtle, heady with desire. Hey, you won't hear me objecting. It's perfectly okay to be impure, in my opinion. Olivia certainly didn't appear to have a problem with the path of her palm, nor did she take exception when it found its place upon her breast, cupping her ample bosom, her caresses continuing to explore the delectable curves that she craved.

Natalia lingered there, savouring the sensation, scarcely able to swallow the sounds that longed to escape her lips, but restraining them, so as not to disturb their sacred space. This doesn't feel impure. Her slim fingers splayed, small hand ensnaring as much of her sweet skin as was possible, letting her lover absorb her. This feels right.

Before she could respond, the motions resumed, a delicate, dedicated dance adorning her body. Her snow-crested skin was lit, blissful fingertips delivering fluttering declarations of love, flames licking where she never even knew nerve endings existed, enkindling them with affection, and want. It felt like she was levitating. She probably could have, as the air evacuated her in an almost inaudible gasp, leaving her light as a feather, nothing left inside her but Natalia's light. Her life force. She knew it was written all over her face, how she affected her, and filled the once unvanquishable vacancy inside of her, but Olivia didn't let that lead her to look away. She had vowed to stay with her, even if she had never uttered it aloud. In fact, leaving it unsaid made it all the more real, the very nature of their bond. Destined to be. Fated.

Feeling Natalia, receiving just one look from her, one taste of the flowering woman longing to flourish and burst forth from her bud, justified why she was still alive. She was Olivia's reason. Her meaning. Her purpose.

Transfixed, they couldn't tear their stares apart. Inviting irises inspired images in the imagination illuminating incandescent illustrations of infinite intricacies, imbued in instances of iridescence therein. Natalia shifted closer, beckoned by the crystalline green. Cautiously, Olivia's arm drifted beneath her, circling round until her hand came to rest at the small of her back, supporting her small frame, helping to keep her balanced.

She all but purred at the contact. This was bliss, and yet it was torture. A tremor travelled through her touch as her thumb traced Olivia's nipple, so tangible was the temptation to forgo restraint, and take things further, to taste her exhilarating lips another time. Her passionate nature offered what seemed like very convincing arguments, as she intuitively stretched against her beloved's fingertips, exciting sparks at the base of her spine, but she couldn't act on those impulses until they were both comfortable with what was sprouting between them. Trust was of the utmost importance. They had to do this right. Anything less was a betrayal; disrespectful of the endless extent of their love. A discredit to their bond.

Natalia needed a breather to keep her more carnal instincts under control, pulling back, kneeling on the bed beside her. A flash of panic passed across Olivia's gaze, proving precisely why their present pace was essential. What's wrong? Have you changed your mind? Is this too much for you?

Just the opposite. A smile asserted as Natalia crossed her arms over her body, hooking her thumbs in the fabric of her top and stripping the garment away, baring her fabulous figure, the moonlight catching beads of sweat that dotted her feverish, dark brown skin. A vessel of burning sexuality, bubbling at the brim, boiling with potent juices that yearned to be set free.

Olivia couldn't help but break from her gaze, overwhelmed by the sight of her. In awe. One glimpse of her hypnotic shape sent the world spiralling off its axis. It fell from her lean shoulders, got lost in the narrow dip of her waist, miraculously recovered balance on her hips, only to begin the whole process again in reverse. Dumbstruck. Even her usually verbose eyes could only manage the equivalent of, Oh my God. It was only once Natalia lay beside her once more, placing her fingers against her chest, urging her to recline once more, that her stare snapped up, and their contact was restored. Are you sure about this?

Surer than sure. She guided Olivia's hand to her side, encouraging her embrace, even as she felt dizzy from her smouldering strokes stimulating her searing hot skin. She swallowed a little shyly as her fingertips returned to her beloved's chest, resuming her tender yet tentative touches, toying with her already aroused flesh, though not with the intent of teasing. I just...I need this to happen at my own pace. Natalia still wasn't particularly confident about her abilities as a lover. Not now, on this occasion, where it meant everything.

I can go with the flow. Her eyes responded, under her spell – not simply submissive, but understanding, and sympathetic to Natalia's concerns. She saw past the shell, and nurtured the soul inside. Intimacy. Whatever you need.

Wonderful warmth swam in the gaze that she gave in response. It was the dimples that did it, Olivia decided. They wove shadows into sunlight. They made a snowdrift radiate the homey heat of a hearth. Natalia's ginger fingers gently turned their attention to her as yet untouched breast. If patience was this rewarding, she definitely didn't mind the wait. Besides, she thoroughly relished the reaction she elicited when her hand whispered over the younger woman's waist. Whether she was ticklish or not was unclear, but her body undeniably wanted to writhe in time with her motions, and would have if only her position allowed it. Her activities certainly hadn't received any complaints. Quite the contrary, as a matter of fact. Soft moans were aroused from her sensitive skin, and her breath hitched when she brushed along the bottom of her bra, prompting her to tense, and impart some delicious friction into the woman beneath her.

Show me. Spoke Olivia's eyes, swelling with sensational sexuality, simply stupefying in intensity, striking straight through Natalia's conscious mind, rendering her momentarily stunned. You don't have to hide anything from me. I want to see the woman you really are. Who you can be.

Easier said than done. But I haven't even seen that side of myself yet. Natalia's inner conflict was plainly painted across her features. The battle being waged within between old and new. A coup d'état. I'm not ready for that. Not now. I need time. Her eyes darted to Olivia's sumptuous lips, tempted to partake of that tremendous taste, but knowing she probably couldn't stop herself once she started. That wasn't what she wanted – not some instantaneous ignition that soon burned out. She wanted eternity. A controlled combustion? If there was such a thing. The romantic rapture. To make love.

We have an abundance of time. Celadon sparkled with affection, supple fingertips stroking a tanned cheek as perfectly manicured nails continued to caress her side, as a sign of security, though it still sent shivers of sweet sensation down her spine. Slow is good. Slow is...different. Melting in her presence, Natalia let her head fall on the pillow beside her, barely any space between them at all, needing the nearness.

Inhaling her scent. Hearing her breathe. Seeing naught but her eyes. Feeling naught but her heat. So close to Eden. These moments. This was what she'd spent so many years praying for. If this was their future, there was no way she would ever let it go. They could have it. Together.

Hey. Noticing the distance that had drifted across walnut brown eyes, Olivia endeavoured to draw her back from her dreamlike daze. Where'd you go?

Just realising how lucky I am. How close I came to losing you. Guilt stricken, Natalia couldn't keep the sadness and remorse from her eyes, blinking away the tide of regret, fingers clinging to the flesh above her beloved's steadfast heart, as she leaned down, tenderly resting their heads together, in a silent apology. Can you ever forgive me?

There's nothing to forgive. In her mind, nothing Natalia did could ever be anything other than amazing; she was so smitten. Even if she managed to somehow set the whole world on fire, Olivia would have thought no less of her, and obliviously basked in the warmth. She was flawless. A woman without fault. Immaculate. And she refused to hear otherwise. I understand exactly why you did what you did. I would have done the same thing in your position.

No. I don't believe that. Natalia shook her head, damn near imperceptibly, but, in such close proximity, the small motion seemed outstanding. Unmistakable. You were so strong, and so brave, even when you were falling apart. I wish I'd had your courage. That I hadn't hurt you. She gently nuzzled her neck, feeling unworthy to be seen, conveying (she hoped) that she had changed, and she would never run away again. But I know I was wrong. And I'm here now. Her hand went lower, down over Olivia's naked stomach, venturing further south. You're mine, and I'm yours.

A moan resonated through the once silent shadows, arching into her touch as it moved beyond her abdomen, brazenly unbuckling her belt. Eye contact restored. Touch me. The animalistic instinct glinted in her spectacular depths, probably unbeknownst to the electrifying woman whose stare had spoken it. Please.

Her heart fluttered, hammering at the reactions she was eliciting, and dying to witness her fulfilment, flourishing in the throes of ecstasy. Natalia undid the button of her pants, toying with her fly, tentative fingers trailing the length of her zipper, up and back, evoking subtle squirms against the sheets, and eventually easing the zip down, lured there by the longing look of her lover. She didn't know quite what she was supposed to be doing, but she found her conscious insecurities silenced. Her physical entity acted of its own accord, leading the clothing down her divinely shapely legs – sex incarnate – leaving naught but her lacy underwear to cover her, to keep them apart.

She stroked her thighs, and let her fingers flicker freely over the full extent of her luxurious legs. Olivia lifted one knee, longing to envelop Natalia, and plunge headlong into their passion, but she held herself back, surrendering control, enabling her lover to lead their intricate tango, trusting her implicitly with her body, and her soul. She stretched and writhed despite herself, subconsciously inching closer to those auspiciously poised lips lingering so close by, her eyes innately imploring to feel their flesh meld into one, where beginnings and endings became superfluous concepts, merely remnants of an obsolete prior existence. A past life. Nothing more than an echo of a memory of the loneliness and misery that accompanied separation from her soulmate.

Emboldened ministrations manoeuvred to the waistband of her panties, beseeching her beloved for permission to be where she belonged. I need to be inside you. They dipped beneath the fabric, a brief indulgence she could not deny her famished digits. Please.

Crying out for what they craved, fingers clung to her slender sides, shockwaves of sexuality making her all but claw at perfect skin as she asked – no, begged – to be whisked away on the wild wings of their romance. Yes! And don't ever stop. Eyes of emerald Eros enshrouded Natalia's senses, entreating her to enter that ethereal experience, where she was imbued with the emotions and intoxicating imagery embodied therein. It was only after the fact that she realised she had fallen headfirst, and yet she struggled not, offering no attempts to resurface. You fill the emptiness inside of me.

Wrestling with the overwhelming urge to simply wrap her bewitching woman in her arms and right the wrongs that wounded her, deserting her in worry and woe, Natalia bit her lower lip, stifling sounds of her own as her caresses swept past her soulmate's waistline, tasting the fringes of delicious wetness, and warmth that rushed up her heated pathways, and wound up colouring her cheeks a rosy red, leaving her woozy with want. The aroma of arousal arose, or erupted, more like, accompanied by the pitch perfect gasp escaping Olivia's throat. An improvised piece in the key of passion, written for the human voice, but transcribed for her untamed stare. Pure notes rang, clearer than Cathedral bells.

Tears gathered in her gaze as she cradled the precious spirit above her, too lost in the momentous intensity of her limitless emotions to stem them. Besides, the flow had proven uncontrollable, inspired by something deeper, more personal than she used to believe was present inside of her. All the pitiful, broken pieces scattered in her past, haphazardly strung together with duct tape, were at long last nearing completion, reforming, fusing together, the fractures fixed thanks to her protector, her glimpse of peace, her Princess, her partner, her perfection. Natalia.

Her palm cupped the pulsing apex of Olivia's thighs, fingers primed to push against her aching peak, and applied a superb pressure, making her entire body tighten with the delightful magnetic attraction propagated between them, desperate to feel her lover's skin slicked with sweat and sliding against her own. Natalia failed to maintain her focus on the fierce flashes of fire inflaming the forests of iris. Too much. Gazing into the objects of her obsession was an out of body experience, and she needed to remain grounded. To stay with her. And so, instead, her attention migrated to the motion of a bead of perspiration, dislodged as the older woman swallowed a moan, and then to her lips, as she licked them, and left them parted for air as her breaths became heavier, shorter, sharper, in time with the primal puppetry of her fingertips.

Unable to resist any longer, Natalia's free hand pushed against the plush bed, lifting her to hover over her beloved. Without a pause, she leaned in, running her tongue along her naked neck, tasting her throat, feeling the vibrations of pleasure resonate through her lips. Their breasts brushed as her ravenous mouth climbed higher. Curvaceous silhouettes arched towards each other in the shadows cast by moonlight on the wall, if seeking to assuage an insatiable thirst.

Her height forced her to retract her fingers from Olivia's molten core as she followed her breathless body further up, though she dragged her once delicate, now damn near deadly hand desirously over her abdomen, and beyond, until it found her breast, seizing it with almost savage massages. Incoherent utterances of sheer, unremittent enjoyment of the unexpected surge were swiftly silenced by sex-starved kisses. One leg swung over her hips, and suddenly Natalia was straddling her, on all fours, essentially, gently gyrating against her in just the right place as she adjusted her position, and settled on top of her, every microscopic motion seeming to span a mile as they melded into one.

Overcome by the raw, unabashed passion exploding from her partner, and her judgement pleasantly consumed in a smoky fog, it didn't occur to her to prevent herself from reciprocating. Insecurities were forgotten. Her nails raked up Natalia's back, summoning from her a blissful gasp that was lost amidst their unceasing kiss, and a ravishing roll of her body, a motion like a wave across the ocean, driven deep into the body beneath hers, until it appeared as if they would disappear into each other, drowning in their devotion. She didn't even realise she'd reached around and unclasped her bra until the Latina abruptly reared up and removed the loose straps hanging from her shoulders. Olivia pursued her, unable to exist in the absence of her skin, sitting straight upright, palms enclosing around her freshly revealed flesh as slender arms flew around her, and tongues collided in a duel of unending dedication.

Kneeling over Olivia's lap, and agonisingly aware of the throbbing ache between her legs, she endeavoured to ease her lover back on the bed, but she refused to budge. Insistent fingers were busy unbuttoning her pants, and would not heed her insistence. Before conscious thought could enter the fray, Natalia was already removing the obstructive garment, writhing free of it, and blindly kicking it off into the night-blackened abyss behind her, and resuming her comfortable position, riding her seductive soulmate, rocking against her, kissing her to within an inch of her life.

Aimless arms sought any anchor in the awesome, breathtaking abandon, absorbing any and every atom of their amore. Ardour. Adoration. Absolute immersion. It felt like everywhere was raging with roaring flames. Smouldering sensuality.

Fingertips grazed damp – no, drenched – underwear. Natalia quivered, and sharply inhaled at the unannounced touch, but ground into the palm that caressed her, driven by incredible need. She grabbed her hand, urging her to bypass the barrier, and delve beneath the fabric. A brief pause. Eyes opened. Embers of emerald and umber exchanging erotic exaltations. The answer was an entity incarnate. No doubts.

Lips met. A near mute accompaniment to the moment that all dimensions cascaded into a solitary fragment of matter, and Heaven became a union of destined hearts. Fated. Bound for one another. Two halves of the same soul, joined at last.

Entering her hallowed shrine. Inside her. Indescribable.

To be filled. To feel whole. Incomparable.

Forever and a day they spent frozen in the moment, until time abruptly crashed into them, unleashing the ripples of rapturous ecstasy that radiated from her centre. The sacred source of the resplendent revelation. The rush.

A salacious song rose up from her core. The sweet sound of a moan gracing their silence as Natalia's hips heaved forward, receiving her flawless fingers as far inside of her as they would go. She felt so safe, as if their love formed an impenetrable fortress around her, and yet, so fragile, falling so fantastically fast, so hard. The connection was not yet complete. She still needed Olivia to feel the full extent of her infatuation.

While she began to ride the palm that penetrated her very essence, her own hand headed south, hungering for Olivia's heat. To have her and hold her. To heal her, and hear her hastening heartbeat. Though her senses may have been scattered in the haze of love, her beloved's happiness was still all she could think about.

Echoing the exquisite caresses Olivia meticulously imparted, trusting her guidance in such matters – indeed, on the fringes of her incoherent consciousness, she was grateful that she could compensate for her lack of experience by following her lover's evidently expert lead – Natalia eased inside her, sliding through her effervescent folds, the transcendent sensation. Joy and jubilation. Crazed and craving. So clear. They felt each other shiver through their lips, sharing countless kisses, yet one undying connection, like a wreath of flowers, perpetually linked. They didn't dare shift, preserving each fleeting instant in the sanctity of their souls. Sacrosanct.

Rhythm arose as if of its own will. Who moved first, they would never know. It didn't matter. They were one and the same. But soon, Natalia's hips were rolling like the rapids a raging river, each thrust driving her fingers deeper inside Olivia, which, in turn, made her magnificent ministrations all the more immaculate, curling and twisting and flickering, locating and exploiting all of her intricacies with effortless delicacy, as if she knew them by wrote. It was no surprise. Sex was her mother tongue.

Perspiring. Grasping. Losing grip. Perched at the epitome of paradise. Made into marionettes by the ministry of masterful fingertips. Never more glad to be so tightly strung. So close. So divine.

Natalia needed to break for air, all but devoid of oxygen as the supernatural sparks incessantly struck throughout her system, exciting every last nerve, eliciting a moan she could hardly even muster the wherewithal to mutter as ecstasy practically made her eyes roll back in her head. Feasting on her ferocious inferno, Olivia's kisses landed on her neck, the both of them rising and falling together as the younger woman bucked to meet every deft thrust. Hands pumping in time with racing pulses. Faster. Firmer. Finding that spot.

Oh, yes! Right there. Natalia's free arm was abruptly flung around her lover's neck for balance and support, suddenly finding herself unsteady, unstable in the most marvellous of ways. Her eyes widened, before squeezing tightly shut as she plunged into another bruising kiss, the bed rocking against the floor as she reached desperately for release. On the edge. Just a nudge. Please.

Anything for her. A willing slave. Eternally devout. Invigorated by the vicinity of her peak, Olivia's thumb circled the sensuous flesh at the apex of her thighs with increased velocity, and her perfectly placed middle finger rotated more rapidly inside her, as her blazing bundles of nerves felt ready to burst. Let go. It's okay. I've got you.

She felt it swelling within her, starting inside her sex, then shooting up her spine, spreading to the rest of her body, like the seasons transforming, blossoming into Spring. A flood of blessed bliss rushing towards her. She could see the colossal crest. There was no stopping it. Then the wave crashed over her, and she was carried away.

But for a soft, whimper-like squeal in the back of her throat – which was, nonetheless, swallowed in their ravenous lips – she came silently, which wasn't surprising really. There could be no mistaking her rapturous fulfilment, however. Natalia's orgasm made her shake and shudder, quite severe convulsions in fact, which pushed her to buck into the tremendous touch still committed to caressing her, prolonging her purest pleasure. Her free hand flew to Olivia's cheek, clutching her as they kissed, scared of losing her in the sublime chaos, of flying so far into the clouds that she could never return to her Earthly body.

It was stunningly beautiful to behold. Butterflies lifted Olivia's heart in her chest. And yet it hurt too. She wasn't entirely sure why. That was just the nature of her love. Every emotion tied up in one unimaginable little bundle. Her feelings were without an end, without a name, because she felt so much. She felt it all. And to think, she'd come so close to having it all sucked out of her life forever. There would have been nothing left. Whether this was for better or worse between them, she couldn't determine. But she knew she needed it. Hell, it was all that kept her pulse pounding away.

Natalia didn't rest to enjoy the afterglow for long. After all, she wasn't supposed to have come first (not that she retained the conscious capacity to feel embarrassed about it). It wasn't what she'd intended. It wasn't what she'd wanted, even if her body, and baser instincts had craved it. But she could soon make amends.

Nothing but Olivia ran through her mind. Their unity. Their completion.

Her fingers began to oscillate once again, establishing her interrupted rhythm, pushing Olivia back to the bed while she was still too awed to respond. She crouched over her lover, her lean, tanned shoulder lurching forward as she slid through her slick, soaking sex, every sense abuzz, and soaring higher with each dose of her essence. She needed to witness her soul finding liberty, when her eyes flashed with fireworks, and shone with streaks of shooting stars.

Determined to see her, and stay joined with her throughout the whole sacred experience, making their first time something special, and a little extra sentimental for the both of them, because her soulmate deserved nothing less, she broke their kiss, and blindly brushed past her nose, pecking her on the cheek, encouraging her to open her eyes. It was only then, in the moonlight, that she realised she'd been crying, silently, seeing the almost invisible tracks running from the corners of her eyes reflected in lunar luminescence. Natalia froze. The fingertips of her other hand gently stroked her faintly flushed skin, as a salty sting began to blur her own shimmering vision. Olivia's tears were her own – when they fell from her, she shed them doubly. She needed to know what was wrong.

When she exposed her evocative emeralds, it was revealed that they were not tears of sadness that she shed, per se. Rather, she was totally overwhelmed with emotion, as the weeks and months of holding everything inside, of feeling so alone, confused, and despondent caught up with her. Indeed, she was also crying for happiness, gazing up at Natalia with unreserved love, caressing her sides, treating her like a fabled treasure, cherishing her, swept up in a moment of perfection that she still didn't consider herself worthy of receiving.

It crushed Natalia to think she viewed herself that way, leaving a crack in her stained glass heart. She felt a teardrop drip from her eyelashes, falling to the ruffled bed sheets. I wish you could see yourself the way I see you, just for a fraction of a second, so you could know how amazing you really are. Tenderly, she kissed away the dampness, wiping away the moisture, cleansing her of the tragedies of yesterdays.

Olivia smiled up at her, and the sun rose at one in the morning. Warmth returned. Her stare sparkled like silver dust sprinkled over a shower of stars. Take me away. Her leg tightened gently around Natalia, urging them together, as her fingers wove their way into her lovely, flowing locks. Lips brushed, but for a moment. Don't ever let me go.

Unable to resist the wishes of the woman she worshiped, she stared ardently at her beloved with doting doe eyes, one hand brushing back her bangs as the other resumed its intimate ministrations, moving to the rhythm of the moment, unparalleled in its meaning. Making love. A moan escaped Olivia's lips in a soft hum, intent on stifling the sound, and preserving their sacred silence. She was enamoured, watching the mesmerising motions of the woman above her with baited breath, scarcely aware of anything beyond the sweet, wispy smokescreen of the electric experience, engulfing every iota of her entity in energetic thrills, and enchanted chills.

There was something especially exhilarating about having Natalia poised above her the way she was, suspended on those slender arms, skin on skin. She couldn't explain it. Something subtle. Perhaps it was seeing her fantastically feminine frame in such intricate detail, seeing her slender muscles shift beneath the surface as she moved deeper inside of her. She was undeniably the most gorgeous person she'd ever laid eyes on. Maybe it was having her brilliant walnut brown eyes never wavering from her own, treating her with the utmost respect, yes, but more so that they seemed to pierce her very soul, perhaps finding some part of her Olivia herself was not aware of, something that had remained pure, and untainted by her past. Perhaps it was knowing that she could trust her gentle spirit, baring the vulnerable parts of herself without being broken. Maybe it was just that she could finally be where she belonged.

Peppering Olivia's lips with intermittent kisses, Natalia inserted another finger into her lover's velvet folds, compensating for the slower pace of her eloquent caresses, speaking in silence things the older woman never thought she would hear. She rolled into the touch, elegant eyes uttering everything that existed inside her, drawing her lover nearer as the need grew more potent. Felt unbelievable. Felt as gentle as feathers, but firm enough to make her twitch and forget whether she was breathing in or out when digits curled, and twirled in her core. Experimenting? Very creative. Delightful.

She held onto her lover, gripping onto her slender shoulders for security, grounding herself beneath her soulmate, surrendering to passion and sexuality. It was impossible to keep from kissing her – which was why she cheated a few times and let their lips glide past one another's – but she made sure to maintain her gaze, because that was what Natalia wanted. Because it made her happy.

Olivia writhed wantonly when her wonderful wordless whispers manipulated her inner walls, stimulating her most precious spot. It must have been inscribed in her eyes, because Natalia knew, and didn't stray from there, guiding her closer and closer to the precipice. She held her in place, caressing her flushed face. Stay with me. I need to see.

It was hard as hell to keep her eyes open in between a lingering impulse to burst into tears and the urge to shield her eyes from the blinding light of bliss at the end of the proverbial tunnel. And yet, she couldn't tear her stare away, spellbound by the vision of divinity whose pristine presence covered her. Such beauty. Olivia swallowed a gasp, the powerful pleasure mounting in her abdomen. Building. In glorious harmony, their silences sang, until the fibres of her being enveloped Natalia. Spirits transcended the mortal coil, merging, eclipsing the cosmos as they achieved their destined unity.

Time slowed to a standstill. A perfect moment. An awesome spectrum, a colourful cascade scintillated in the embrace of her irises. Superb. Sublime. Supreme. Superlative. A sterling splendour. She shone. Luminescent liberty. At last. In a realm unto themselves, they fell, into a mutual soul. Completed. Whole. Woven into one by the ethereal laces of love.

Somewhere in the rapturous iridescence of Heaven, they found each other. A prayer whispered by lips' caresses. A soft sob stole through the silence. Teardrops. Gems of sheer euphoria. Joyous jewellery. Unable to contain their ecstasy, they cried, in exquisite quiet, trembling together, fingertips tentatively touching their treasure. Their soulmate. Too perfect to be true. Was this reality?

Afterglow. The light the lovers emitted outshone the constellations, filling the dark voids of the universe with golden grandeur when tears turned to laughter, illogically lost in endless glee. They kissed away the sounds. Sacred silence.

Despite the warmth wrapped around them, shivers and aftershocks didn't subside. Such was the potency of their passion. Natalia found the sheets, and covered her lover, sneaking beneath them herself, cradling Olivia in her arms, taking care of her. Celadon smiled, nestling comfortably in the embrace. Close to her. You're a sweetheart. Said the gorgeous green gaze as she glanced up at her, glimmering with unguarded honesty, holding out her heart in her open hands, laying her humble offering at the feet of her soulmate. A long, slow breath. A sigh of sheer fulfilment. I am so in love with you. She stared at her with unparalleled adoration, so utterly devoted that she couldn't remember what it was like to feel anything else, beyond her consummate captivation.

Natalia heard it in her heart, as clear as the aria of an angel. Awe-inspiring. The alluring, cerulean stare unfurled and flourished, flowering petals of passion floating through the air, falling like snowflakes, landing all over her, until she felt the love surround her, as tangible as her very touch. Unforgettable. Olivia told her everything by saying nothing. Her silence said more than frivolous words ever could.

Unfortunately, no Earthly language had been devised that could articulate what Natalia felt, unless Love itself had once fallen from the skies, and its essence had sung in some long forgotten tongue. A sudden soreness came to her heart. Would her lover ever realise the gravity of her feelings? How could she possibly understand, when speech fell pitifully short? Nothing came close. There was no compromise. Insatiable intensity. Alas, her stare didn't speak. Not the same. It was a gift God had given only to Olivia.

She'd tried to encapsulate her love, and express it as a verb, letting her actions speak in the precious silence. Sign language. And yet, Natalia felt mute. She had all along.

Realisation hit her hard. There was no way she could find to emulate those emerald expressions, and evoke the entirety of her emotions. To entice Olivia, and engender in her the experience of Elysium. To show her Eden, just as she saw it every time she looked into her eyes. But she had to tell her. She needed to hear it.

Words eluded her. Losing her voice. She would have spoken until the second coming, and after, if that was what it took to express her truth. As it stood, she had already taken her heart out of her chest, tied a little ribbon around it, placed it in a paper box, and given it completely to her soulmate, but Natalia was rendered anxious by the thought that her gift had been left sitting on the doorstep unseen, not because of any latent desire to be acknowledged, but because the only thing she wanted out of life was for the woman beside her to realise her own wonder, and at last accept that she deserved to be loved.

"Olivia..." the silence was softly shaken from its foundations by her earnest whisper. She swallowed a lump in her throat, embarrassed by her inability to articulate her soul, but eager to say it nonetheless, so that it could never be doubted. Never be forgotten. "I—"

Cut off. A fingertip against her lips. "Shh." Olivia shook her head, ever so slightly. No explanations were necessary. "It's okay. I know." It had already been spoken. She'd felt it. And it astounded her, how Natalia's aura ascended into the atmosphere, and made amour pour down from above. Her presence affected everything around her, making atoms in the air fall apart, into lighter elements, so that, with each breath she took, inhaling her sweet scent, she felt her feet lift off the ground. Levitating on a luscious layer of love. Floating into the firmament.

Natalia seemed a little startled, unaware of her astral affection, the cause of her lover's grin. When Olivia leaned into her, nestling comfortably upon her shoulder, she began to relax, instinctively touching her, fingers tenderly tangling in her hair, her caresses drawing a contented sigh. Peace. Her lips placed a gentle kiss atop her lover's head, before her own eyes fluttered shut, beckoned by the inviting ministry of night.

And, in her serene slumber, Natalia found that her wish had been granted. They drifted into dreams as one, and found each other, waiting there. Never separate. Not even for an instant. They stayed together. A single soul.

A new life had been born that night. A journey just begun.

The silent sanctity said it all.

The End

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