“The faintest cry is loosened from her in a lucid expression that does announce her bestirring itch. Over and under each other’s lips, we now find ourselves in each other’s recalescent and inundated Elysium. Our hips move in a natural sequence that gives sentience to the repressed soul.” ― Luccini Shurod, The Painter
The Shore of Elysium
Shimmering eyes took in the man across the table. The waitress arrived with their meal. Gloria reached around Peter’s side and placed a dish in front of him. She touched his shoulder with her other hand as she brushed against him. Silk and soft skin brought memories of Gloria’s attention from other days back to Peter as he looked down to avoid Mariah’s questioning look.
Mariah knew she was an intruder to the moment shared between Peter and Gloria. Her dreams of winning Peter’s attention wavered. Gloria looked at Mariah, her eyes warning the Cybrid female of her transgression in the Dragon Sister’s domain. Mariah’s hands trembled in her lap as she struggled with the warning imparted by Gloria. She saw Peter looking at her and wondered if there was a way to shut herself off.
Peter engaged Mariah in conversation as she struggled to find the words to answer. She did her best to show respect and maintain a proper Cybrid attitude. Peter sensed her withdrawal and decided to try to get Mariah to open up to him.
“I hear the sunsets are spectacular at the beach this time of year.”
“I’ve never watched the sunset on the beach before,” Mariah replied as she pushed her fork around on her plate.
Mariah seemed distant. Peter left the payment for the meal on the table and prepared to leave. They walked down the sidewalk and turned to take the walkway that led to an outcrop overlooking the beach. Mariah glanced out over the horizon, and her eyes widened in awe. The glow of the sun reflected in the water and turned the strands of clouds translucent in the fading light.
Mesmerized, she walked past Peter and lifted her skirt as she bent over to take off her shoes. Peter took in the beauty hidden in the understated grace of the Cybrid’s movements. Her firm legs took on a warm glow from the sun as she walked across the sand to the outcrop and overlooked the bay. Mariah gazed across the water in a trance.
For a moment, she forgot her worries and felt transported to the shore of Elysium by the sights and sounds of sunset and tide on the beach. She imagined Peter’s hands caressing her. The rhythm of sound coming from the waves washing ashore were the sounds of her pleasure as she responded to his touch.
Peter walked up beside Mariah and looked out at the sunset. Her perfume mixed with the salt air stirred Peter’s desire to bond with Mariah. He resisted the urge, deciding to leave her to her thoughts.
Mariah broke the silence. “Why does Gloria hate me?”
“She doesn’t hate you. She is afraid of you.” Peter replied.
“Because I am different?” Mariah asked.
“No, because you are beautiful, and I find you delightful to be with.”
Mariah blushed at Peter’s compliment. She felt validated in her secret competition with the Dragon Sister. “She feels jealousy?”
“The Dragon Sisters are protective. It’s their duty and instinct.” Peter explained.
“Like my duty to serve the Dragons?”
“ Yes, the same.”
Mariah turned and looked into Peter’s face. She sensed his sincerity in the softness in his eyes and the gentleness in his voice. It was different from the casualness she saw before.
“I’ve always wanted to feel the sand and surf under my feet,” Mariah whispered
“There is no better time than now,” Peter said with a broad grin.
Mariah walked to the beach. She enjoyed the pleasure of feeling the sand press up between her toes. It made her think of walking on grains of sugar. The new sensations elated her, and she delighted in kicking the sand in the air and watching it sprinkle into the surf.
Mariah walked out toward the breaking waves. Water rushed over her ankles as the sand tickled her toes. The current and melting sand under her feet nearly toppled Mariah as she laughed at her crazy dance to avoid falling in the water.
A wave broke in a roar as droplets of water and foam wet her face and arms. She ran laughing toward the dry sand, looking over her shoulder at the breaking wave rushing up on shore.
She ran into Peter knocking him back. He held Mariah tight in his arms as he struggled to regain his footing. She looked up into his face, and their eyes met as he held her to him. Her heart pounded against his chest as she pressed herself into him, feeling the tense muscles of his chest and stomach against her.
“What is it? Peter asked.
Mariah held Peter’s gaze as she tried to explain.
Mariah’s fright at the sound of the wave made Peter smile. Her naivete endeared her to him. Peter stroked her back to calm her as she looked up at him. Her softness reminded Peter how much he missed the company of a woman.
Mariah held to Peter as he rolled up his pant legs and pressed herself against his side as they walked through the surf at the edge of the shore. They stood and watched the breakers curl over and burst in a shower of light from the orange glow of the fading day.
Peter felt Mariah’s hand touch his stomach above his belt as she stared out into the breaking waves. She flinched as a wave broke in front of them and sought shelter against his body, pressing her breasts to his back and lifting her leg across his as the water rushed toward them. His passion stirred as he fought a physical response to her touch. He could do without the embarrassment of Mariah discovering her effect on him.
“It’s getting late. We should head back.”
Peter’s words broke her quiet reflection. Mariah’s insecurity returned. She wanted to connect with Peter. She felt the closer she got to him, the more he pulled away. They walked to the car with Mariah’s arm through Peters. She tried to gauge his mood, but he was quiet and distracted. Mariah fell silent as they got into the car and the driver sped away.
* * *
The driver opened the door as Mariah turned to Peter to say goodbye. He touched her hand and smiled.
“Mariah, would you like to go out again next week? I have some things I want to talk to you about.”
Mariah couldn’t believe her ears and had no idea how she found her voice.
“Yes, Peter. I’d love to.” She said with a little too much enthusiasm, she thought.
“Good. I’ll call you.”
Peter touched her arm as he smiled and said goodbye. The driver walked Mariah to her door and waited until she locked it before he returned to the car. Mariah watched as the car left the curb and eased into traffic. She caught a glimpse of Peter through the window of her apartment and felt her stomach and chest ache.
Mariah changed to her pajamas, made herself tea, and sat on the couch. She closed her eyes and savored the memory of Peter’s body pressed against her. A warm wetness spread between her legs. She looked down and saw the tea cup sideways on her lap and jumped up, dancing in a circle, and trying to decide to run to the kitchen or bathroom before the tea stained the couch, her clothes, and the rug.
* * *
Alexa looked at Peter in silence as he recounted how his experience with Mariah made him feel like she was as self-aware as any human. He found her innocence and naivete sweet and alluring. He looked at his sister with a muted desperation.
“What should I do, Alexa?”
“What does your heart tell you to do?” She replied. Peter always came to her with matters of the heart. Alexa like Mariah and was determined to help her brother get over his reluctance to accept Mariah because she was a Cybrid.
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