Disclaimer : Characters and situations are all from my imagination. The poetry excerpts are by Renée Vivien. The translation of the second poem is from http://www.valkyria.ca/renee_vivien_page.html
Warnings : Sex and love between women
Feedback : Constructive criticism and feedback, both welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2009 Geonn Cannon
The view out the window wasn't spectacular, but it was Russia. Definitely Russian, Piper Nadeau thought as she lifted the camera to her eye and snapped another photograph. She was three days into a week-long trip across the country, riding the rails and staying in ridiculously expensive and unbelievably tiny hotels. Or maybe they were hostels. She wasn't sure of the difference. Either way, she was getting a definite education in idiomatic Russian. She could say please, thank you, more, bathroom and train station with native fluency. It was the little things - newspaper, refill, ATM - that tripped her up.
The train had just left the station and they were still in the town proper. She got a shot of an old white-walled chapel with hazy mountains in the distance. The haze was partially due to the winter's fog hanging over everything, and partially due to her breath fogging up the glass of her window. She considered opening it, but the berth was already freezing. She was still in her heavy coat and her knit cap was pulled low over her eyebrows.
The town gave way to the skeleton-limbed trees of a sparse forest, so she lowered her camera. It was pretty, but she already had a half dozen photos just like them. She had to conserve her film. She used an old-fashioned camera, the kind with actual rolls of film, rather than a digital model. It wasn't price; the amount she paid for film more than evened the score on that mark. She simply preferred the results she got with film. Digital prints just seemed so dead, lifeless.
Piper slid off the seat and took out her camera bag. She put it on the floor and knelt next to it, safely storing her camera in the snug compartments. The scenery wasn't terribly exciting on this leg of the journey, according to her cousin who had taken the trip a year earlier, so she was planning to get some rest. She had just zipped the bag up when the door to the berth slid open and a woman leaned into the room.
The woman was tall and slender, dark hair cut short but feathering her cheeks and forehead like raven wings. Her coat was a deep, dark velvet, a purple that was nearly black. She scanned the room and then looked down and saw Piper kneeling before her. A surprisingly warm smile spread across the woman's lips and she said, "Well." Her voice carried a thick, Russian accent. "I heard they treated you like royalty on this train, but I had no idea."
Piper smiled shyly and gathered her bag. "Sorry. I was just putting away my camera." She climbed back into her seat and let the Russian woman pass. "I'm Piper."
"Irina," the woman said. She took a seat and started to undo the buttons of her jacket.
"Uh, I wouldn't," Piper said. "It's kind of freezing in here."
Irina hesitated, then shrugged and continued to undo the buttons. "I can always put it back on." She shrugged out of the coat without standing, and Piper was very grateful Irina had chosen to brave the cold. She wore a white blouse with a wide collar, and a skirt as black as her hair and coat. Her stockings were lace, covered with intricate curlicues and twists. She crossed her legs and Piper realized she was also wearing knee-high black leather boots.
"So, Piper," Irina said, breaking Piper's concentration. "You are a photographer?"
"Yes. No, well... freelance. I sell pictures to magazines and newspaper. A bit infrequently, but steadily enough." Very infrequently lately, she added mentally.
Irina nodded and settled into her seat. She folded her coat and laid it in the seat next to her, looking out the window at the passing scenery. "I hope you do not mind sharing your space."
"Not at all. With two of us in here, it might warm up a little."
Irina's lips twisted into an amused smirk. "Perhaps." She reached into her bag and withdrew a book. "I hope you do not think me rude if I..."
"No, not at all. I was going to try and nap a little anyway." She moved her camera case out of the way and stretched out onto the seat. It could be transformed into a bed with a modicum of effort, but she wasn't quite ready to make the shift from daytime into night. She put a pillow behind her head as a cushion between her head and the wall, looking through the small frosted glass at the passing Russian countryside.
After a few minutes, she glanced over at the book Irina was reading. The title was written with Cyrillic letters, and she was fascinated by being in the same room with someone who could read it. Silly, she knew, considering how long she had been in Russia. But she still had an American mind and the same expectations she had back home. She wasn't used to being the foreigner in the room.
She did manage to doze a bit, the rocking of the train comforting as a cradle. When she woke, the quality of light from the window was dimmer, nearly dusk. It was a little warmer, but she still didn't want to risk taking off her coat. She pushed herself up and leaned against the wall, blinking at Irina. At some point, she too had fallen asleep. She was on the far side of the bench, leaning against the wall for support, her arms crossed and her hands resting in her lap. The book she was reading lay on the seat next to her, a red ribbon marking her spot.
Piper reached across the aisle and plucked the book off the seat. She wasn't trying to snoop. She was just intrigued by the alphabet. She flipped the book to a random page and was surprised to find that one side of each page was the Russian, while the other had an English translation. Piper read the poem on the page she had randomly opened.
"My ingenious fingers wait when they have found
The petal flesh beneath the robe they part.
How curious, complex, the touch, this subtle art--
As the dream of fragrance, the miracle of sound."
Her eyes widened. She was no scholar, but it was pretty obvious what that was about. Piper flipped the book to look at the cover. A woman wearing a white robe, which had fallen to expose the curve of one breast. She flipped back to read the rest of the poem.
"I follow slowly the graceful contours of your hips,
The curves of your shoulders, your neck, your upappeased breasts.
In your white voluptuousness my desire rests,
Swooning, refusing itself the kisses of your lips."
"Which poem are you reading?"
Piper jumped, like a little girl caught looking at a Playboy magazine, and looked across the car at Irina. She was smiling, her eyes half-lidded and sleepy. Piper realized that Irina wasn't angry and looked down at the book again. "Um... u-um, The Touch ."
Irina sat up and stretched. "Ah, Renée Vivien. Tragedy always brings out the best in poets." She smiled and looked toward the ceiling of the car. " I will kiss your hands and your divine naked feet; Our hearts will cry out for the neglect that they meet, Will decry the vile words and base gestures anew..." Piper unzipped the top of her camera bag and slipped it out as Irina recited the poem. "These flights will linger in peaceful security. You will join your hands in their mystic purity, And, in the soul-filled shadows, I will adore you."
Piper snapped the photo just as Irina finished. She caught the Russian woman's head and shoulders, the transported expression of happiness on her face framed by the dark wood of the train car wall. Irina blinked at the flash and looked at Piper, as if suddenly remembering she was there. Piper lowered the camera. "Sorry," she said. "I couldn't help it. I hope you're not mad."
"Of course not, my dear."
"The poem was beautiful. And you were beautiful while you read it."
Irina's smile became softer and she rested her head against the wall. They rocked in silence, and Piper turned to watch the world sweep past the window. The book of poems was still in her hands, her thumb marking the poem she had found at random. She looked at Irina, the content smile on her face, and the passion with which she had recited the poem. Piper put the book of poems aside and slid off the edge of the seat, kneeling before Irina again.
Irina opened her eyes and looked down as Piper put her hands on her knees. "What are you doing?" Irina asked.
Piper moved her hands up Irina's legs, gently massaging her outer thighs through the stockings. "My ingenious fingers, right? The petal flesh beneath the robe they part," she said. She moved her hands to the top of Irina's thighs and gently eased them apart. Irina's skirt moved up on her thighs, just slightly but enough to make Piper's breath catch, and she looked up into Irina's eyes. They were bright blue, strangely close to purple, and she was hypnotized by them.
Irina hesitated, then put her hand on top of Piper's head. She closed her fingers in the material of her knit cap and pulled it off her hair. Static cling drew Piper's long, dark hair up in a frizzy halo, by a pass by Irina's slender hand tamed it again. She licked her lips with a tiny pink tongue and said, "Are you sure?"
"Yeah," Piper said. She bent her head and kissed the front of Irina's shirt, moving her hands up as her lips moved down.
Irina shifted on the seat, lifting her hips and pulling her skirt out of the way. Piper lifted her head and looked down. Irina's stockings ended at the top of her thighs, revealing a strip of pale skin between the tops and the lace of her black panties. Piper covered the skin with her hand and pushed Irina's legs further apart. She ran her tongue over her lips, making sure they were wet before she did anything. She hooked her fingers under the waistband of Irina's underwear and pulled.
Piper leaned back as Irina lifted her legs, both of them working to get the flimsy underwear down and out of their way. Piper half-turned and dropped the panties on top of her already discarded knit cap. Irina rested her legs on Piper's shoulders, cushioned by her big coat, and hooked her ankles together.
Piper hadn't gone down on anyone since Holly. The phantom this trip was partially an attempt to escape. She closed her eyes and placed a gentle kiss on Irina's right thigh, parting her lips and drawing a quick circle with her tongue before moving closer. She breathed deep, savoring the scent of another woman's arousal. God, it had been too long. Why had she let Holly haunt her for so long? She licked her lips one more time, then opened her eyes and looked at Irina's 'petal flesh,' as the poet wrote.
The folds of Irina's labia were soft and pink, glistening in the dying light from the window. Piper thought of reaching up to turn on the berth's light, but she decided against it. She kiss the dark hair of Irina's mound, feeling the warm skin against her lips. Irina's breath caught and she muttered something in Russian.
It took Piper another three kisses before she was where she wanted to be. She kissed the hood of Irina's clit, circling it with her tongue until the bud appeared. She closed her lips around it, and Irina gasped. "Ah, Piper," she whispered, and her hand fluttered against the top of Piper's head. Just a brief touch, like the wings of a butterfly, there and then gone. Piper kept her eyes opened and brushed her tongue along the length of Irina's sex, up and then down, circling the sensitive flesh.
Piper wanted to moan, wanted to thrust her tongue inside as hard as she could, but she restrained herself. Ten months since Holly walked out on her, and she had almost forgotten what a woman tasted like. She dug the fingers of her right hand into Irina's thigh, bringing the other to her lips. She sucked two fingers into her mouth, swirled her tongue around them, and then pressed the wet knuckles against Irina. She rocked her hand back and forth, closing her lips on Irina's clit once more. She sucked as one finger, then the other, slid easily inside.
"Piper," Irina gasped again.
Piper loved the way her name sounded on the Russian tongue. She turned her hand upside down, thrusting her hand hard against Irina. Irina whispered something in Russian and then reached down, gripping Piper's hand tightly. Piper looked up, confused, her hair falling into her face and obscuring one eye. She met Irina's gaze, and Irina said, "Gentle." She demonstrated, her lips curling in a silent grunt. "Slow. Easy, Piper."
"Okay," Piper whispered. She kissed Irina's thighs again, then picked up Irina's slow, steady rhythm. Irina was very wet, and it was easy enough to add a third finger. She worked Irina's clit for another long minute, then pulled her fingers free and tasted them. I've never tasted a Russian woman before, she thought as she sucked her fingers. She lowered her head and parted her lips, pushing her tongue between the folds. She wrapped her arms around Irina's legs and held on, curling her tongue before dragging it back out.
"Dear God, Piper..."
"I love how you say my name," Piper said against Irina's skin, her lips brushing Irina with every word.
"Piper, Piper," Irina whispered. "Piper..."
Piper smiled and pushed her tongue back inside. She reached up with one hand, sliding under Irina's shirt to find one full breast. She squeezed it through the bra, regretting the fact they weren't both naked, but she wasn't about to stop and amend that. She knew Irina was close, from the way her breath hitched and the muscles in her thigh trembled, and she gently nibbled the slick lips with her teeth.
"Irina," Piper said when she lifted her head for air. She rolled the 'r' the way Irina had, feeling the name against the roof of her mouth. She touched her lips to Irina's clit and repeated it, "Ir-rina..."
"I am going to come," Irina breathed, her hand on the back of Piper's head.
Piper worked her tongue as deep as she could, twisting and curling the tip. Irina grunted and bent forward, bowing over Piper as her body twitched. She curled her fingers in Piper's hair and muttered a string of Russian words before she gave way to quiet panting. She drew Piper's head up and tenderly kissed her lips.
Piper moved forward, Irina's legs still draped over her shoulders, and took Irina's tongue into her mouth. Irina moaned and ran her hands down the front of Piper's bulky coat. She pulled back, looked down, and said, "You seem to have me at a bit of a disadvantage." She arched an eyebrow and said, "What are we going to do about that, eh?"
Piper smiled and leaned back, Irina leaning forward at the same time. Piper slid onto her seat as Irina kissed her, expert fingers finding the pull of Piper's zipper. Once the jacket was unzipped, Piper shrugged out of it and dropped it to the floor with the ever-increasing pile of their clothes. Irina's hands slipped under Piper's sweater and touched her stomach through the thin T-shirt she wore underneath.
Piper gasped as Irina kissed her neck. She regretted putting on so many clothes that morning; a bit of a chill wouldn't have been so bad, and she would have been naked so much quicker. But Irina didn't seem to mind. She peeled the sweater and T-shirt off at the same time, sliding her hand over Piper's bra before kissing her lips again. Piper lay down and pushed Irina's hand lower, down to the catch of her pants.
Irina broke the kiss with a gasp. Piper's hair was in her face and she lifted her chin so it would fall back. Irina perched between Piper's parted legs, her knees digging into the cushion on the edge of the seat, their faces inches apart. From this distance, Irina's eyes seemed to be a frozen ice blue. They kissed as Irina's hand slipped into Piper's pants, her fingers folding together as they slipped between Piper's legs.
Irina sucked Piper's tongue as she brushed her fingers over the cotton of Piper's underwear. Before long, Piper was gasping and lifting her hips to meet Irina's hand. Irina cupped Piper's face with her free hand, both of Piper's arms wrapped around Irina's waist to help her keep balance. They rocked against each other until Piper closed her eyes and pressed her forehead to Irina's shoulder. She clenched her teeth and held Irina tight as she came, her legs pinning Irina as they tried to squeeze together throughout the climax. Finally, she went limp and dropped against the seat, pulling Irina down with her.
She closed her eyes, trying to catch her breath, and she felt Irina kissing her chest and collar. Piper licked her lips and turned her head so Irina could trace her tongue up her throat. Irina paused and sucked a point where Piper's pulse throbbed. Piper sucked in a breath and said, "Don't bite."
Irina chuckled against Piper's throat. "Maybe I am a Russian vampire. Suck your blood."
Piper smiled and turned to look at Irina. They kissed, and Piper ran her tongue across Irina's teeth. "Feel pretty human to me," she said. "Of course, if you were looking for something to suck..."
"You have an alternative?" Irina asked. She withdrew her hand and undid the catch of Piper's trousers.
Piper lifted her hips so her pants could be pushed down. "I have one or two options for you, yeah." She bit her bottom lip as Irina slid down her body.
Later, they took the time to convert the seat into a bed, squeezing together under the blankets. When Piper woke, it was fully dark and the moon was shining in the window. The car was cold again, threatening to freeze the sweat to her skin. She eased out from underneath Irina's arm and found her sweater. She pulled it on, tugging the bottom down so that it would cover her rear, and looked toward the window.
She got out of bed, walked to the window and looked at the passing scenery. They were moving too fast to see much detail, but for a blur of black remnants of trees striving to grow in such a harsh environment. She knelt down and retrieved her camera from the bag, snapping a few shots at the passing nightscape. She took a few pictures, capturing a river where the moon shone like a million diamonds, then turned and looked at the bed.
Irina lay on her back, one arm stretched out toward the side of the mattress Piper had abandoned. The blankets had fallen down to expose one breast, the nipple black in the darkness and standing erect because of the cold. Piper took a photo, not bothering with the flash so that the moonlight wouldn't be washed out. Irina looked like a statue carved out of marble; absolutely perfect and unreal.
Piper knew that when they reached the next station, Irina would most likely stay behind or get on a different train. She knew their time together was going to be over soon. But that didn't mean she couldn't treasure the memories. She put the camera back in the bag and pulled the covers back to get back into bed. She pressed herself against Irina, and Irina snuggled against her in the cold. She murmured, brushed her face over Piper's shoulder, and whispered something in Russian. A moment later, she apparently realized her mistake and said, "Mm, you're warm."
Piper turned onto her side and wrapped both arms around Irina, holding her close to warm her up. They wouldn't arrive in Irkutsk until morning, at least, so any thoughts of their inevitable parting could wait until then. She rested her head on Irina's shoulder, letting her body heat thaw out the Russian woman's cold skin, and closed her eyes. Their bodies rocked together under the warm blanket as the train continued to press on through the frozen Russian landscape.
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