Disclaimers: Well, I don't really have to do this with this one. My characters, my story. There might be a certain resemblance to two ladies some of you might recognise but hey ... that could be purely coincidental...<smile>
Subtext: Yup, all the way through the story ... if this bothers you or if you are too young, please don't read this story.
Violence: No, not really. Some fist-fights maybe.
Language: I don't use English in my day to day life so I apologise for any spelling or grammar mistakes. You're welcome to point them out to me, though. <smile> Oh yeah ... I'm using 'proper' English spelling - just thought I let you know...
Setting: There are not a lot of stories out there set in Europe so I thought I might change that. (My being European and all ... <smile>) Set in northern Germany. A town called Lübeck. All the places, streets and bars are real. And it's a beautiful little town....I tried to keep German to a minimum - just some phrases now and then....
A Final Note: For all of you who read "Falling"…………this is going to have a happy end. I had to promise……<smile>
Any comments are welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org
by Grit Jahning
I don't know what is going on
You turn around and touch my heart
A silent moment speaks the truth
Something has happened all at once
It should have scared me in advance
But I was falling in those eyes of yours
Fear was gone
I knew there was nothing else I'd ever want
<chorus> I know you
You're not from here
I've waited for you to appear
To take my breath away
And make me weep
You're not from here
Not from this here and now
Just a touch of yours
And I fly…and I fly…and I fly
I can't get used to missing you
If this is how it's gotta be
I need an angel to watch over me
No one can hold the hands of time
But I can hold you in my mind
Over and over like a melody
I'll stand still
I'll be filled by the memory of your skin
I know you
You're not from here
You don't belong to lies and tears
The greatness of your soul
Makes me weep
You're not from here
Not from this here and now
Just a touch of yours
And I fly…and I fly…and I fly
*"You're not from here" written by Lara Fabian, John Bettis, Walter Afanasieff, Rick Allison
It had snowed over night. Covering everything in glittering white. Burying everything under a coating of untouchable innocence.
Until sunrise and man would crush the small wonder of nature.
But at the moment darkness was still lingering. Still had its spell on a world that slept peacefully. The soft roar of waves crashing on-shore were drifting through the ice-cold air. Sounds of boats clanking against each other. A fading bark of a dog. From somewhere far away the sound of a car.
And the sound of snow crunching beneath moving feet.
Quiet breath steaming gently.
A soft sigh.
Pale eyes straying over the snow covered beach. Tracing small footprints of cats that had crossed there earlier. Even smaller imprints of birds.
A tall frame shuddered a little and buried deeper into a thick coat. A face half covered by a scarf. Snowflakes caught in long, dark hair. Glittering in the light of a street lamp nearby.
The promenade was deserted. Not surprising since it was in the middle of the night. Only two of the bars and restaurants lining the beach where still open but quiet. Indicating that there weren't a lot of customers tonight, either.
The quiet form moved passed the dimly lit windows and walked up a small path that led to a small clearing overlooking the beach and the sea. Surrounded by tall deciduous trees and pine trees. All heavily covered in snow. The limbs swaying gently in a soft breeze that also rifled through dark locks.
Out on the sea lights of ships were blinking rhythmically. Beacons to any searching soul...
Pale blue eyes turned right. Just able to make out the lighthouse located on a small peninsula reaching out into the sea. The beam of light blinding for a moment.
Long hands reached into the heavy coat and came back with a rose. White as the snow surrounding the tall frame. Delicate. The thorns had been removed and its steam was soft and smooth. Long fingers were tracing along its length and then another sigh stirred the air.
Pale lips, due to the cold, touched the white flower and the hand holding the rose moved in a quick motion and threw the flower over the cliff. Pale blue eyes watching its descent. Watched as it touched the churning water underneath.
Watched as it was swallowed up by dark waves crashing against the rock.
Above stars were breaking through the clouds. Blinking in carefree abandon.
The tall form turned and began its slow way back to the beach. Leaving nothing but footprints and a few white spots drifting on the water underneath.
- 1 -
Matthias Berger closed the window with a soft sigh. Stepping in front of the mirror again he called out: "It's snowing, again."
Soft sounds of clothes being removed indicated there was someone with him in the small apartment.
He adjusted the tie around his neck and straightened out the collar of his deep blue jacket. Running his hands down the dark cloth he cleared his throat a little.
"My, my ... don't we look..."
"Handsome." Soft laughter and then a pair of hands settled around his waist and he felt a small form lean against his back. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the quiet moment. Then he turned and looked at the small brunette in front of him.
Dark eyes twinkled at him and she turned around with outstretched arms. "What do you think?"
He looked her up and down and smirked. "Beautiful." He kissed her lightly.
Corinna certainly did look beautiful in her black dress. Understated and yet elegant. Hugging her slim body in a very ... his smirk got bigger ... very nice way.
She swatted at him and then looked towards the window. "Snowing, huh? Means we have to leave a little earlier, right?"
He nodded and reached for his wallet. "Yeah ... I think twenty minutes at least. They probably haven't cleared the road to Plön just yet. ... " A look at his watch. "We have to wait for Ray, though."
They were on their way to a birthday party of a mutual friend of theirs. Liv Forsberg, a small blonde Swede who worked in Matthias' bar.
Corinna tilted her head a little and perched on one arm of the couch in the living room. "She won't be at the party?"
A brief look of pale blue eyes. "Um ... no. It's ... " A little sigh. "...difficult."
Corinna frowned a little. Things about Ray and Liv always were 'difficult'. And Matthias usually skirted around the subject. Saying it wasn't really his business.
She met Rayne Wilson last year. The same time she met Matthias. They had been in a small bar in the old town of Lübeck called Hieronymus. Actually the tall British was the first of the two she noticed. She seemed so displaced in the small room that was packed with students and artists. Tall, at least six foot and a very tanned skin that looked too natural to be fake. Long, midnight-dark hair and chiselled features that almost screamed 'classic'. But the most strikingly features about her were her eyes. A pale blue - vibrant and strangely alive.
Matthias had blue eyes too but there was something about Ray's eyes that was ... she couldn't quite put a finger on the feeling that took hold of her every time she had to look at them.
And they usually held a grief and pain ... just to think what might have caused that made her shudder.
She jerked back from her musings. "Oh ... sorry just thinking. .... Why is she coming here, anyway?"
Matthias sighed again and reached for a glass of water on the table. "She has a present she wants me to give Liv." He shrugged a little.
"She can't give it to her personally?"
He looked at her for a long silent moment. "No ... it's ..."
She waved her hands. "Yeah, yeah ... I know. It's difficult."
It was close to half past five when the doorbell rang and the tall woman entered their apartment. Shaking snowflakes out of dark locks. Brushing wet bangs to one side. She nodded at Matthias and shook hands with Corinna. "Guten Abend." Her low voice colouring the words with a slight accent. She sat down in one of the leather chairs. One tanned hand running through her dark mane to loosen it up a bit. "I won't stay long ... just ... " She lifted her hand.
They looked at each other for a quiet moment until Matthias cleared his throat politely and pointed at the small package in her hand. "That's it?"
Pale eyes raised and looked at him for a silent moment. Then the dark head nodded. "Yup."
Matthias sighed. Very aware of light-brown eyes watching them. "Look Ray ... she'll know who send it, anyway. ... Why ... Isn't this the perfect time to ... to talk about ... stuff? You know?"
A defeated little smile and the tall form got up. "I should have talked to her two years ago, Matthias."
The blond man watched her head for the door and debated with himself for a moment. But then decided to tell her anyway. "You know that she's going back to Sweden, right?"
Rayne froze in motion. Turning around ever so slowly. Her features set in unbelieving surprise. And something much deeper… "What?...When...?"
"Um ... next month, I think."
Corinna saw Rayne's throat move. Saw those incredible blue eyes cloud over with ... She felt a shudder race down her spine imagining what had caused this look.
A quiet sigh and then broad shoulders shrugged. "Well, maybe it's for the best that way. ... Tschüß." And without another word she left.
Leaving behind a subtle air of grief and pain.
Corinna turned to her boyfriend. One dark brow raised. "What ... was that all about?!"
The blond man didn't answer immediately. Looking down at the small present in his hands. He weighted it a little and then looked at Corinna.
"I tell you on our way to Liv. ... It's a long story."
Rayne Wilson stepped out into the evening dark. Her pale eyes not really seeing anything around her.
It was cold.
The late fall promising an even colder winter. The early snow a sure evidence of that. Having taken a lot of people by surprise who finally had to get their cars ready for winter.
Blue eyes strayed over the mostly empty street. Only a few people out and about at this time of day. She sighed softly. Her breath evaporating as curling steam in front of her.
She got back into her car and simply leaned back into the leather seat. Closing her eyes. Letting emotions and memories wash over her.
then - 5 years ago
"It'll be perfect!!"
The excited young man was smiling broadly, waving a sheet of paper in his hands. He was watched by amused pale eyes and then a dark head shook slightly.
"I don't know Matthias. ... "
"No, no, no ... don't you dare refuse, Ray! C'mon ... "
The tall British sighed. Looking around the large warehouse they were standing in. Well, with a bit of paint and some work here and there ... yeah, it could look pretty good. The location was great. Placed near the Untertrave at the west canal that surrounded the old city of Lübeck - forming it into an island only accessible over bridges. It was near the centre of the city. Easily within reach for late shoppers and tourists. The Holstentor - the former city gate and now landmark of the town - in sight.
"I admit it doesn't look that bad."
Matthias huffed in mock-indignation but a broad smile was on his handsome features. "I say it again, it's perfect. We have the money, we have the location ... You just have to agree."
Rayne smiled and took a few more steps into the huge room. Her eyes straying over dirty floor boards and walls. Dusty windows and rusty metallic handles.
"It's going to take a lot of work."
Matthias grinned. Knowing by the sound of Ray's low voice that she liked it as well.
Pale blue eyes turned to him and she shook her head in mock-surrender. "Well, let's get it on then, huh?"
He whooped and almost, almost hugged her. But he restrained that desire when he saw the dark head tilt a little to one side and got one of those looks.
"Great. Okay, I talk to Manfred tomorrow and ... wow, Ray ... then this baby is ours!!"
She looked around again. Snorting softly. "Yeah ... looks like it."
There were muted sounds of traffic drifting up from the street below. Honking of horns, breaks ... shouts and soft ringing of bike-bells.
Pigeons were cooing contentedly on a window sill. And warm rays of sun stretched from the window across the floor up on a bed. Tickling exposed toes. Causing them to wriggle in slight annoyance.
Then a soft groan stirred the air and a dark head appeared. A large hand rubbing blood-shed pale eyes. They blinked at a cloudless sky and then closed again. "Geez, remind me to throttle Matthias, okay." She told no one in particular.
They had been working in the bar until earlier this morning. Finally getting the counter fixed to the floor and the lights up. And today was Saturday - so there was no reason for her to be up .... but that bloody internal clock of hers just didn't care.
The dark head turned. Yup, it was just a few minutes past seven.
Outside she heard the soft sounds of wings flapping and she turned to the window again. Narrowing her eyes at the birds sitting there. " ...and after I throttled that guy ... " She got up and pointed at them. " ... it's your turn."
Maybe the birds saw her advance or the wind stirred them but they cooed loudly and then flew away.
"Your luck." Another groan and then the tall form stretched. The thin black T-shirt taut against a lean, muscular body. She scratched her stomach and then headed towards the bathroom. Might as well start the day, right?
A low snort. "Right."
The cup of coffee was steaming lightly and Rayne took another sip. Her eyes scanning the morning paper she had bought along with two rolls down at the bakery. Smiling as she remembered Mister Jaap, the owner. He just couldn't get the pronunciation of her name right. Always making it sound like René.
Her head raised and she looked around her apartment. It was a one room apartment. One wall taking up by huge panorama windows. A small kitchen in one corner and to the back - raised off the ground was her 'sleeping corner'. The rest of the room taking up by a comfortable dark couch and an armchair. A small table and a TV set. And to another wall stood her little 'office'. A computer desk and a very comfortable chair.
It wasn't huge but it was enough for her and she had a beautiful view over the small lake at the back of the apartment house.
She was about to start on her second roll when the phone rang. "No one's home." But the apparatus obviously didn't understand English and kept ringing. She heaved a sigh and got up.
A cheerful voice drifted through the phone and she sighed. "Matthias...I've got all of five hours of sleep ... no way am I coming to the bar today." But the voice on the other end didn't seem to care either. "...Look, why don't you interview them and then you tell me who do you think is best, okay? ... I have absolute faith in your ability to choose the right personnel."
She sat down on the arm of the couch and shook her head. "Matthias ... " She couldn't finish the sentence because he interrupted her. His German becoming rushed gibberish to her. "Okay ... okay .... okay .... I'll be there in fifteen minutes" Another cheerful sound but she simply hang up.
"Well." She mused while reaching for a pair of jeans and a shirt. "If I see him I can throttle him. ... Maybe saves the day."
She was circling the block for the second time. Close to losing her temper. Saturday morning and of course it was almost impossible to get a parking place. Long fingers gripped the steering wheel a little tighter and she looked around again. Ah, there ....
She stopped the car and set back slowly and...
Just then a blue VW Beetle slipped into the free space.
For a moment she blinked pale eyes at the small car in astonishment and then they narrowed in anger. "Oh buddy ... that's exactly what I need today." She got out of the car and headed for the smaller car. Griping the handle and flinging it open. Ducking her head. "Listen, buddy ... I saw ...."
And fell silent as surprised green eyes looked up to her.
" ... I ... " Her mind just went blank and she tried to come up with something to say. The pair of green eyes belonged to a face with incredible gentle features. Framed by short blonde locks. That were brushed away by a small hand. And then she saw those green depths sparkle with anger.
"Do you mind telling me what you think you are doing there?"
She blinked dumbly and then looked at her hand. "Oh.." She released the handle and stepped back.
The woman in the small car got out and locked the door. Turning around, tilting her head a little ... not entirely able to hide a small surprised smile. She wore a white polo shirt and tight blue jeans that were hugging a slim waist.
Rayne swallowed and took another step back.
And was brought out of her trance by the angry honking behind her. Reminding her that her own car was standing in the middle of the street. "Um..." She stuttered. And then just shook her head and turned around back to her car.
Followed by amused green eyes.
Liv snorted softly and shook her own pale head. And then she looked down the block. Trying to locate the bar she had an interview at. Her hand disappearing in her pocket and coming back with a small slip of paper. Die Blaue Rose. Mmh. She turned a little and then discovered a small blinking sign a few doors away.
She shouldered her bag and headed that way. Taking a deep breath to prepare herself for the interview.
Rayne finally found a place at the other end of the street. Cursing all the way back to the bar. And yet not quite able to get those green eyes out of her mind.
That had never happened to her before.
One moment she was ready to rip that person apart and the next ... she was stumbling over her own words.
"Like some damn teenager." She shook her head again. Determined to leave the bar as soon as possible. Then she would catch up on her sleep ... do some work out. Maybe drive up to the beach. It was in the middle of spring but warm enough to go in T-shirt and a stroll down the beach usually calmed her. Yeah ... maybe take a book, too.
That decided she straightened and entered the warehouse. Her eyes needing a moment to adjust to the dim light in the foyer.
She looked around and spotted Matthias blond head. Oh buddy ... now, we need to talk. Dropping her jacket on one of the chairs nearby she headed over to her friend.
Liv tugged at her ear nervously. Looking around. Her green eyes straying over seven other young women and men that had shown up to apply for the job.
She surveyed the interior of the bar. It was very obviously still in the process of being finished. Suddenly pale brows wrinkled as she saw a tall form head towards the young man that had welcomed them just minutes ago. She squinted ... and exhaled softly.
It was the tall woman that had been at her car earlier. They started talking. The man laughing and hitting the woman on the arm.
Liv sighed. Great ... they know each other ... she is probably one of the bosses here. And she's already pissed at me for taking the parking place. ... Just my luck.
She sighed again and took a few steps back. Leaning against the wall, hoping to hide behind the rest of the people that were all taller than she was.
Not quite able to take her eyes off the tall woman on the other end of the room. Noticing the way the muscles in her forearms moved as she gestured with her hands.
Liv frowned and looked away. A bit unnerved at the feelings inside herself.
Just remember that you need the job. She took a breath and tried to calm herself as the man - Matthias - walked up to her group. He smiled at them and waved a pad in his hands.
"Okay ... that's the plan... we are looking for two male waiters and three female waiters. If you have prior experience with this type of job - great but it won't be a necessity. We're looking for open-minded people because .... like I said earlier this bar will be mostly frequented by a gay audience and anyone who has a problem with that can leave already!"
There was a slight shuffling among the people around Liv and then she saw a young woman reach for her jacket and leave.
The blond man in front waited another minute and then smiled again. "Okay ... um ... so ..." He looked at them. "Makes it kinda easy because we have only two men here ... you guys okay with what I just said?"
Rayne stood at the back and looked at the group. Her eyes carefully scanning each one of them. She smirked a little. Well, you certainly didn't need a gaydar with the two boys, obviously friends but the girls.... She tilted her head a little.
And felt her mouth go dry.
She watched a small hand brush a few stray blonde locks behind a small ear and was caught by blinking green eyes.
It was the small blonde with the VW Beetle. Her eyes again taking in the slim body. Whoa ... what am I doing here!! Get your head straight!!
She saw a faint blush creep up the neck of the young woman and despite herself swallowed hard. Matthias was still talking to the group and then she saw another young woman leave. The blond man motioned with his hand for them to wait a moment and came back over to her.
"Hey ... Ray ... what do you think of them?"
"They all right with the conditions?"
She shrugged ... not quite able to keep her eyes from straying back to the small blonde. "Do you have their résumés?" Matthias nodded and handed her a few sheets of paper.
She rifled through them until she saw the expected face. Liv Forsberg. ... Liv .... Deciding she liked the name she looked up at her friend. "Okay ... then get the paper stuff ready. Tell them they can start next month."
Matthias nodded and turned back to the waiting group.
Liv Forsberg ... She looked up again and saw the small blonde smile brightly at something Matthias had said. Feeling something deep inside her stir with a warm familiarity that was a bit unnerving.
"Hey .... I'm back!"
Liv closed the door behind her and dropped her backpack to the floor. Her keys landing on a small table near the mirror.
A dishevelled red-haired head peeked around a doorframe. "Hey ... honey ... and? Did you get the job."
She grinned. "Yup."
"You go girl!!" The red-haired woman walked up to her and pulled her into a hug. "I told you it would work out. ... When do you start?"
They moved to the living room. Liv settling in a worn but comfortable armchair while her friend sat down on the ground next her. Evelyn still looking like she just got up although it was close to three in the afternoon. They shared the apartment with another student and had become friends almost immediately. The redhead a wild and slightly unsteady person - so in contrast to the more quiet and reserved Swede.
They had met during their first week at the University of Lübeck and had almost immediately become friends. Deciding to rent a flat after six months. Lorenz, a close friend of both of them had agreed to move in too.
"They finish the interior in the next weeks and our contracts start next month. So ... that worry is taking care of. ... " Liv fell silent. Her mind suddenly conjuring up a image of a tall, dark-haired woman. She frowned and shook her head a little.
A warm hand on her knee brought her out of her reverie and she looked down into concerned blue eyes.
"You all right?"
Green eyes blinked for a silent moment but then she smiled. "Yeah ... sure ... I'm fine. .... Um ... has Torben called yet?"
Evelyn studied her friend. Not quite satisfied with the answer she'd got but deciding to drop the matter. "No. ... He hasn't called yet. .... Did you expected him to?" Liv's boyfriend had taken a week off from the University to visit his mother back in Sweden. "I mean, he called yesterday..."
Liv brushed a few short blonde locks from her eyes and shrugged. "I ... um ... I just thought ... maybe ...."
The red head in front of her tilted to one side and a brow raised. She smiled and shook her head. Resting her smaller hand on the one still laying on her knee. "I'm fine, Eph ... Just a little tired." She got up. But avoided her friend's eyes.
"Any lunch left?"
The other woman sighed silently. Recognising the signs when Liv was determined to change the topic. "I think so ... yes ... Lorenz hadn't had a chance to get to the refrigerator yet so there should be some left."
Chuckling softly they headed to the kitchen.
- 2 -
With a soft hiss the street lamp below her window went on. The dim yellow light slowly brightening to a blinding white.
The tall form stood silently at the window. Looking down at the streets. Pale eyes tracing passing cars and busses. Flashing lights that flickered across a still face.
Behind her in the dark apartment soft music floated through the air. A muffled carpet of soothing sounds.
So today was the great day. The opening of the bar.
Matthias had been so excited he actually called her five times within an hour to make sure she knew that they were meeting at seven in front of the bar.
A slight smile played around red lips and the dark head shook a little.
Over the past three weeks they had had a chance to get to know the people that were going to work for them a little better. And she found herself unable to get Liv out of her mind.
It was actually quite unsettling for her.
She closed her eyes and leaned her forehead against the cold glass of the window. Trying to calm her churning insides.
"...Liv...." A soft whisper. ....Breath steaming against the glass. ... Misting the view outside for a few moments.
A sigh and she moved away from the window. Turning back into the dark apartment. She had already decide on an outfit and a brief look to the clock told her that it was half past six. She would need at least fifteen minutes to make it to the bar.........Another sigh. Well, might as well get started, right?
As if hearing the question and wanting to answer it......a car horn sounded from down the street.
"Are you finished?"
The young man's voice sounded impatient as he paced in front of the bathroom. Blue eyes were watching him and it took all of Evelyn's willpower to suppress a biting comment. She really didn't like Torben. Something about him.......
He was good looking. No doubt about that. And he honestly cared for her smaller friend but he tended to patronise her. Now and then talking to her in a way one would with a child. That has no idea what it is doing. And that made her mad. Because Liv just…
Evelyn sighed and stepped back into the kitchen. Sitting down at the table there. Meeting Lorenz’ smiling face.
"Don’t say a word!"
The young man laughed. "All right. I won’t." He tilted his shaved head at her. His pierced eyebrows wriggling in silent jest.
She tried to stay annoyed but Lorenz’ antics made it impossible. "You’re a freak!" But she was smiling.
The young man laughed and got up to get some milk from the refrigerator. "That’s what Klaus says." He sat down again and poured both of them a glass of milk. "And my parents…… and my teachers used to say it too." He sighed in mock – hurt. "So why not you, as well."
Just then Torben joined them. Sitting down next to Evelyn. "She’ll be out in ten minutes."
The red head looked at the clock on the wall opposite from her. It was six o’clock. They would have to hurry to make it in time.
Green eyes blinked at the mirror. Tracing the image displayed there. Blonde eyebrows wrinkled in confusion as the image slowly formed into smiling, chiselled features. Long, dark locks framing the handsome face.
Liv closed her eyes. A soft sigh steaming the mirror.
She felt something happening to her. Something so new she didn’t have words to describe it and yet it was so strangely familiar…
The last three weeks had been…. She opened her eyes. Exiting. Interesting. Confusing.
But most of all they had been filled with Rayne.
The calm and yet vibrant presence of the tall British. Her laughter. That low voice. ….. Those eyes ….. She found herself dreaming of her new employer. And what confused her the most….and yes, scared her a little was the fact that she didn’t mind all those new feelings inside her. She couldn’t wait to go to the bar….just to see Rayne. Those times the taller woman hadn’t been there, she actually had been disappointed.
It had hurt. She almost felt left behind.
Blonde brows wrinkled even more and she shook her head at herself. She straightened her small frame and taking one last look at herself she turned. Determined to get a grip on her emotions. Very aware of the fact that Torben was accompanying her to the opening party.
And just as aware that she wasn’t looking forward to the evening with him.
Matthias looked around the bar. A broad smile on his face. The large space was packed with people. Women…..Men……Most of them friends of his or Rayne’s. The rest of them friends of their personnel.
They had contracted a band for the evening. And he was seriously considering to keep them on contract for at least two days a week. He had to talk with Ray about that. He looked around. Trying to locate the tall British.
She had been very quiet when she arrived this evening…..almost at the same time as Liv and her friends. Her pale eyes unusually dull. Any attempt to engage her into a conversation failing miserably.
He sighed. She needs someone.
His own blue eyes straying over the people next to him. Finally locating his tall friend on a small bench at the back of the room. As always looking rather alone and almost lost in a room full of people.
He sighed again and started to work his way towards the tall form.
Followed by pale eyes that had noticed his advance almost immediately. Having expected nothing less from her friend. Who somehow had got the idea in his head that he had to look out for her.
A small, affectionate smile played around her lips.
Which vanished as a flash of pale blonde passed by her. Her pale eyes following the now familiar blonde head……narrowing as she saw where Liv was headed to. Taking in the tall, blond man standing next to a red headed woman and a bald young man whose piercing were sparkling cheerfully in the multicoloured lights flashing from above.
Her jaw moving in silent…….what? Jealousy?……..She turned her eyes away. Annoyed with herself for even allowing these feelings. And running straight into Matthias’ questioning gaze.
"Hey Ray…….you’re okay?"
It took her a moment to get her churning insides under control……to a point where she trusted her voice…..but she managed and even smiled. Although she was sure it looked as fake as it felt.
"Yeah…….I’m fine. Really…….." She got up. "I just….um….need some air. ……. Be right back…."
Without another look back she left. This time followed by the concerned eyes of her friend.
And a pair of green eyes that dropped with a silent sigh.
By now it was way past midnight……..an almost soothing cold had set in and Rayne took a deep breath. Glad to have left the smoky and stuffed bar.
You should have known she has a boyfriend! Stupid! She shook her head at herself.
Lifting her head pale eyes took in myriad of stars. Tracing there twinkling patterns with an almost wistful air.
"Looks like a rabbit, doesn’t it?" The slightly accented voice sounded from behind her. And she almost…….almost jumped in surprise. But she didn’t.
Because the soft scent that always surrounded Liv had already announced the small blonde’s presence to her.
"A rabbit?……… Maybe."
Liv stepped next to the tall form. The low voice as always touching a part of her very deep inside.
They stood in silence next to each other. Both looking up at the stars above. Feeling strangely at peace and…….
Liv frowned a little. Almost like home.
She turned to the taller woman but before she could say something the door behind them opened and Torben called for her.
"Liv………you’re coming?" He smiled at Rayne and offered his hand to the small blonde.
Pale eyes watching him with an unreadable expression in them. Watching as they re-entered the bar. Seeing those green eyes meeting hers for one brief moment…….then the door closed again. Leaving her standing in a chilly spring night. With stars above. Soft music drifting out from within the bar. The sounds of slow night traffic. Barks of dogs. High pitched cries of cats.
And she felt deep inside a loss and pain so ancient she almost felt light-headed with its intensity.
- 3 -
It was snowing heavily by now. The windshield covered by a thick layer of white. A dark head tilted slightly to one side…….unaware of the snow and the time that had already passed.
Pale eyes were looking unseeing at the instruments behind the steering wheel.
A large hand lifted and ran through long dark locks. Ruffling through them and easing them away from the neck.
A soft sigh.
Blinking blue eyes suddenly becoming aware of their surroundings.
"…… Liv ……"
A whisper that faded slowly in the small space of the car. Pale eyes turned to the side to look out of the window. Tracing soft white flacks. Remembering a laughing face trying to catch them with a warm tongue.
Another sigh. And she started the car. Not quite sure where she wanted to go. She knew the party wouldn't start before six. And with all the snow most guests would arrive late anyway. She could still make it.
All she had to do was turn right instead of left at the next traffic light.
She would see those gentle features once again………after two years. Would hear Liv's voice again. Her body…..and her soul craved to feel the small form again. All she had to do was close her eyes to see those green eyes, that smile……… How did everything go so wrong?
She stopped at the red light. Pale eyes looking at the sign that said Plön.
Knowing exactly what had gone wrong. The memories and pain they brought still as alive as they were when……
Behind her another driver announced his annoyance with the fact that she hadn't moved although the light had turned to green.
She swallowed. Her hands shaking a little as she started to turn her steering wheel.
Corinna snuggled deeper into her coat while she stood next to Matthias' car as he locked it. It had finally stopped snowing but now the temperature was falling ……… the snow covering the pavement crunching loudly with every step.
The street lights causing the frozen snow to sparkle brightly.
"Okay…… let's go."
She felt Matthias' arm around her waist as he gently lead them to a small house near the road. The huge fir trees in front of it heavily covered in white.
Through the windows warm, yellow light and dark moving silhouettes announced that the party has started already.
Matthias smiled at his girlfriend and then rang the doorbell. Corinna ran a hand through her hair to loosen it up a little and to shake off a few snow flakes.
The door opened and the sounds of laughter, soft music and voices drifted out into the dark. Then a smiling face appeared and without a word Matthias pulled the small blonde that had opened the door into his arms. Feeling smaller arms close around him in a warm hug.
"Happy birthday little one." He whispered.
He released her and tilted his head a little. "You look gorgeous."
Getting the expected slight blush from Liv…… and a gentle poke from Corinna. The women laughed and then hugged too.
"Come in….. you must be freezing!"
Liv closed the door behind them and indicated a place where the couple could hang their coats. Watching with bemused green eyes as Matthias helped Corinna out of her coat. A gentle smile on his face. Who would have thought you would fall so hard, Matti. But she was happy for him. The tall German was almost a big brother to her……… and she loved him dearly.
"Well, birthday girl……" She rolled her eyes. "I won't even ask how old you are." That earned him a raised blonde eyebrow and narrowing green eyes. "…… now, now….."
He laughed and handed her two packages. "Happy Birthday."
She smiled and took the presents. Laying them on a nearby table so she could take a look at them. Opening the bigger one first she lifted the top from the box and gasped. "God… Matti, you shouldn't have done that!" Astonished green eyes stared at a first print of Albert Strindberg's Collected Plays.
A smug expression settled on the young man's face…… obviously very pleased with him. "Corinna helped…… a little." Which earned him another poke. He only laughed and stole a kiss.
"It's signed too."
Liv opened the book she held in her hands carefully…… staring silently at the writings she found there. Then she looked up, green eyes shining with tears. She hugged Matthias again, holding him tightly. "……thank you, so much……" A soft whisper.
Large hands rubbed her hand in a gentle motion. "You're welcome, little one."
Liv sniffed and rubbed a hand over her eyes. And then turned to the other package that was still resting on the small table. Her fingers traced over the delicate wrapping……her body getting very still. She looked up at her friend.
"Um……it's……I……we……" He stammered.
Liv swallowed and very slowly opened the small box. Taking the necklace she found there in her hands. One finger tracing the small hummingbird made out of Blackhills Gold. Shining gently in a soft green and red. Bringing back so many memories……
The sky was already slowly changing from a dark black into a pale grey as they returned home. Evelyn groaned and leaned against the doorway of the living room.
"I'm dead. Shoot me." Liv laughed and shook her head. But before she could response blue eyes stared at her. "Not a word!"
The small blonde lifted her hands in mock-surrender and turned towards the kitchen. Needing something to drink. And not quite ready to head to bed yet…….knowing Torben would stay over night.
She still couldn't get Rayne's face out of her mind. The tall British had looked so lost, standing outside the bar. Watching the stars. And all she had wanted to do at that very moment was wrapping her arms around her and just stand there. Stand there and forget about the rest of the world.
Liv sighed and sat down in one of the chairs around the kitchen table.
She was confused.
The feelings she had for her employer were so new to her. And yet it felt so right it was almost eerie. The need to be close to Rayne………to see that smile…………hear that voice…….sometimes those feelings were so strong she actually hurt.
She felt Torben's hand settle on her shoulder and she closed her eyes. His touch not what she wanted to feel on her body.
"I'm fine…." She turned around and smiled at him. Hoping it was convincing enough because inside she didn't feel like smiling at all. She felt like running out of the small flat she shared with Eph and Lorenz, who had decided to spend the night at his boyfriend's. What she really wanted to do was go back to the bar, find Rayne…..and just forget the world. Getting lost in those incredible blue eyes. And in the warmth of Rayne's embrace.
She swallowed and turned off the light in the kitchen. Leaving Torben and herself in a dim twilight. The light from street lamps falling through the half closed blinds throwing bright stripes at the walls. And across their faces.
Felt Torben's arm tighten around her shoulder as he led them to her small room.
Sighing Matthias lifted up another piece of shattered glass from the floor. Maybe using plastic cups and plates wouldn't have been such a bad idea after all. He threw it into the garbage bag next to him and straightened up. Looking around the bar. Quite pleased with the outcome of the opening party. His deep blue eyes twinkled and he rocked back on his heels.
A colourful curse in English from the back of the bar brought him back from his musings and he turned around. Seeing Rayne scowling at something he couldn't make out from his point of view.
His tall friend had been in this mood ever since she returned from her little trip outside during the party. And he could only guess what had caused this.
"Hey Ray…….you're okay?"
Pale eyes turned his way and he saw that it took her a moment to bite back a sharp comment.
"Yeah……..I'm fine." A long-fingered hand crumbling a napkin and then throwing it into a garbage can. A hollow sound drifting through the air for a brief moment as it hit the metallic bottom.
Matthias sighed again and took a few steps closer. Knowing better than to keep asking her if she was really all right.
"Tonight went pretty good, don't you think?"
The tall frame leaned against the counter. Pale eyes surveying the room. Stop it, Ray. No need to take it out on him!
With a bit of an effort she smiled at him. "Yup, pretty good."
Saw in the way his body seemed to relaxed she succeeded in calming his worries. Appreciating that he was always looking out for her.
For the next two hours they worked mostly in silence. Cleaning up the worst mess, deciding to the rest after both of them got some sleep.
Matthias accompanied her to her car. Looking at her for a few silent moments.
"You sure you're okay?" His voice serious and strangely quiet. Which usually meant he was really worried.
She smiled again. This time it was genuine. "I am tired. And there is something I have to really think about. That's all."
He smiled back. "Liv."
It wasn't a question. A simple statement that showed he knew her better than she sometimes wished he did.
Getting into her car and rolling down the window she took a deep breath. " Ja, Liv."
The sky had gained a pale grey by now and warm glimmer of yellow and orange at the east promised the dawning of a new day. The city itself was still asleep, though. Only now and then did she saw another car on the street. Pigeons were crowded in groups around garbage cans. A stray dog crossed the street and she saw the street lights being turned off. Leaving everything around her in an almost innocent air of grey and pale blue.
Mist drifted up from the canal next to her and the boats fastened on the walls were clanking softly in the early morning quiet.
She didn't know how she ended up in front of the building she knew Liv lived in. For a long moment she just sat in her car. Looking up at dark windows. Her mind alive with images of Liv. Those green eyes……that cute nose……the soft hair…….and the scent that always seemed to surround her. A mixture of peaches and vanilla. Something that was almost eerily comforting.
Sighing and shaking her head at herself she got out of her car. Closing the door she leaned against the slightly wet surface. Pale eyes staring at the building.
More feeling than seeing that the sun started to rise. The first warm rays caressing her face. Throwing yellow stripes across the street and up the walls of the houses she was standing in front of.
With a soft sigh green eyes opened. Pale brows wrinkled at the soft light that was coming through the window.
The small form rolled away from the warm body next to her. Slowly sitting up she reached for a T-shirt and pyjama bottoms. Just as slowly and carefully she rose so as not to awake Torben who was still fast asleep.
Liv walked to the windows and lifting the curtains a little she looked outside. Seeing the first rays of light playing in the leaves of trees in front of the house. Pale green eyes traced the fight of a couple of pigeons. And then fell on a dark, tall form leaning against an equally dark car.
And for a moment she forgot to breathe.
Her breath steaming the window and blurring the image of the quiet form standing on the street.
She tiptoed through the hallway of the flat. The only sounds she heard were the ticking of the clock in the kitchen and the soft deep breathing of sleep.
As silently as possible she closed the door to the flat and almost run down the stairs. Stepping out onto the pavement she almost immediately run into the intense stare of pale blue.
Looking at her with surprise and delight……..and something she couldn't quite place.
She crossed the road. Not caring if there was any traffic and came to a halt in front of the tall form. Just barely catching herself before she could reach out and brushed away a few stray dark looks.
That smile and the dark head tilted a little.
And around them soft light was gaining in strength as were the sounds of cars and people getting ready to start their day. And from somewhere the soft sound of music was drifting through this new morning.
I have my own website now……(yeah I finally made it into the cyberspace….<smile>) you can find it at: www.fanfictiongrit.homestead.com
I try to keep it updated as frequently as possible ….. and yes you will find the following parts of "Fragments" there as well as my other stories and some ideas I am working on. So please feel free to visit my site.
Continued in part 2
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