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
If you would like to read more of my stories go to www.fanfictiongrit.homestead.com
I figured it out
I was high and low and everything in between
I was wicked and wild, baby, you know what I mean
Til there was you, yeah, you
Something went wrong
I made a deal with the devil for an empty I.O.U.
Been to hell and back but an angel was looking through
It was you, yeah, you
It's all because of you
You are the reason
You are the reason I wake up every day
And sleep through the night
You are the reason, the reason
In the middle of the night
I'm going down 'cause I adore you
I want to floor you
I'm giving it up
No more running around spinning my own wheel
You came out of my dream and you made it real
I know what I feel
It's all because of you
You are the reason
You are the reason I wake up every day
And sleep through the night
You are the reason, the reason
In the middle of the night
I'm going down 'cause I want you
I want to touch you
I want to floor you
You are the reason, baby
You are the reason
You are the reason I wake up every day
And sleep through the night
You are the reason, the reason
(*"The Reason" written by Carole King, Mark Hudson, Greg Wells)
"Why is that?"
"Why is what?"
A pale head came to rest on a warm and naked chest. A small hand tracing the collarbones it found there.
Pale green eyes closing in obvious delight as an equally adventurous hand rubbed her back in a gentle caress.
"That we are so comfortable with each other."
"Mmh." The low voice didn't seem to mind this kind of comfort as soft lips touched hers. Green eyes very close by.
"I mean....." A small hand brushed a few blonde locks behind a small ear. Pale brows wrinkling in thought. "I mean...."
A dark head tilted to one side. "Does it bother you?"
Liv blinked surprised green eyes at Rayne and shook her head vehemently. "No! Of course not! It's.......what I mean, it almost feels as if we know each other for a much longer time than a few months."
She reached out and touched tender fingers to smiling lips. ".....it's incredible....."
Kissing the fingers on her lips, Rayne winked at her lover. Yet her voice was serious. "It is, isn't it." Almost like we were destined to meet. She didn't voice this thought but thanked whoever had been responsible for them meeting on that Saturday with all her heart.
Pale blue and green eyes looked at each other in comfortable silence.
The sun had long since risen but neither of them was in any hurry to start the day. Perfectly happy to simply lay here in each other's arms. The world could do without them for a while. That Rayne had unplugged the phone the night before was certainly one reason for their undisturbed morning.
Then green eyes turned thoughtful. Studying the angular features so conveniently close by. Chewing her lower lip, Liv blinked suddenly shy green eyes at Rayne.
"Can....can I ask you a question?"
"Um.....of course." Rayne looked on in confusion as Liv blushed a deep red and mumbled something.
It took her a moment to decipher what the small blonde was saying and by then she had to suppress an adoring smile.
The blonde head had buried into her chest and she heard a soft whisper that sounded conspicuously like: "...that is so embarrassing..."
Rayne waited patiently for those green eyes to look up again. "Did you just ask me if you did okay last night?"
The blush got deeper, still and the blonde head dropped again. "..yeah.."
"Look at me."
Liv sighed and peeked through dishevelled blonde bangs. Looking right into serious blue eyes. Beacons of a soul so familiar she had to take a deep breath against the avalanche of emotions bursting through her.
"You did more than okay! Believe me!........That has never happened to me before."
Curious green eyes looked at her. "What?"
"Well......when I had slept with someone for the first time I usually never...." Large hands gesticulated a little. "You know...."
It took a moment before understanding cleared those green eyes and by then the blush that had just disappeared, came back full strength. "Oh.......oh god......"
The blonde head was swallowed by the blanket and Rayne chuckled. "And here I thought you Scandinavians are so open-minded."
She felt the poke in her stomach. "Uff..."
It took a moment but then Liv reappeared and tilted her head a little. "You really never...."
The dark head shook. A large hand reaching up to trace a gently curving cheek. "No.....you are the first."
Green eyes closed and Rayne felt Liv lean into the caress. "I love you."
Felt those soft lips touch her palm. "I love you, too."
Beams of bright sunlight were breaking through stained glass. Painting coloured mosaics on the wooden boards. Chasing flakes of dust through the huge room that lay quiet and peaceful.
The faintest scent of alcohol and perfume as well as candle wax drifting through the air.
Then a cheerful whistling broke through the quiet and the door to the bar opened. Two tall forms entering with a gust of wind. Whirling around dust and little pieces of paper.
"Stop it." A low, annoyed voice that did little to impress whoever was whistling.
The sound of chairs being removed from tables, scraping along the wood, echoed through the room.
"Ooh....c'mon now, Ray. It's in your eyes, you know."
Matthias rested his arms on the back of the chair and smiled endearingly at his friend. His short blond hair dishevelled and still a look of sleepiness on his handsome features. He yawned and scratched his side.
"So, any particular reason you dragged me here - practically in the middle of the night?"
A low chuckle and a tall woman sat down opposite him. Long dark locks kept in a loose ponytail falling down a broad back.
"How come I haven't killed you yet?"
Pale eyes were narrowed in annoyance but Rayne's low voice held a teasing tone.
Her friend grinned and straightened his own tall form. "You love me." He said it matter of factly. A smug expression on his face.
"Ah." The dark head moved in a nod. "That must be it."
They laughed. Matthias getting up to grab a bottle of water. "Want some?"
Rayne shook her head and took a deep breath. "I won't be here for the next two weeks."
Matthias didn't turn around but a broad smile settled on his face and he chuckled silently. Ray, Ray, Ray.....how do they say: the bigger they are - the harder they fall? He bit his lower lip to keep from laughing and turned back around.
"Yeah....um, I'm going to visit my mum and...." She fell silent. A smile on her lips. Her eyes somewhere far away.
Matthias sighed and snapped his fingers. "And?"
Pale blue eyes blinked at him. "And....um.....Liv invited me to meet her parents." She cleared her throat.
"Nervous?" His own blue eyes were twinkling at her and Rayne shrugged.
"I....yeah, a little. I mean, I never....you know.....was introduced to someone's parents, so...."
The tall German gasped in mock-hurt. "You met my parents!" He sniffed.
Rayne rolled her eyes and sighed. "Goofball! You know what I mean."
Matthias became serious. "So, this is really serious, huh?" He had known that pretty much from the start but he wanted to make sure.
Pale eyes turned towards the windows. Tracing sparkling colours. Serious? God.....Letting Liv go this morning had been so hard she almost, almost had asked if she could come with her. Just to be near her.
"I've never been so serious about anything in my life." A quiet whisper.
The Mensa, the cafeteria of the University, was busy as always. Filled with dozens of hungry students who were lined up in front of the food counter. Not really caring about the quality of the food but the fact that it was cheap - although you usually could tell what it was supposed to taste like.
Cheerful as well as annoyed and sleepy voices were drifting through the large room. Accompanied by the sounds of silverware and plates moving along worn tables.
Now and then laughter branded up. In some corners students were reading books or writing something. One table near one of the huge windows was occupied by a group with a guitar. The low sound of a song now and then audible.
Lorenz sighed and took a look around. Trying to balance his plate as well as his backpack and at the same time trying to locate a place to sit down.
Then he spotted a red head buried in a book and headed this way.
Evelyn looked up and smiled at him. "Hey Großer."
He sat down and moved his backpack underneath his chair. "Ah....I see you took the safest choice, huh?"
The young woman looked to the side where her half-finished plate of spaghetti and tomato sauce stood. She chuckled. "Yeah..."
Lorenz frowned and tilted his shaved head a little. Eph had been in a strange mood for quite some time now. Her usual hyper-active nature strangely subdued.
"Everything okay, Eph?"
Blue eyes met his gaze and she shrugged. "I'm fine. Just need more sleep, I think." She laughed. "Thank God, the break is coming up in two days. I really need it."
Swallowing his spoonful of potato salad, Lorenz nodded. "Me too. Klaus and I probably take a trip to Amsterdam." He waggled his eyebrows. His piercings dancing with the motion. "Gonna be fun."
Evelyn laughed. This time is was genuine and she looked at her friend with an affectionate smile. "I hope, he knows how lucky he is to have you."
Lorenz blushed a little. "I am just as lucky."
The redhead smiled wistfully. "Yeah.....Liv will be gone, too. She is visiting her parents."
"Yeah, she told me. And then she and Rayne will spend a few days in England. My, my....already meeting the parents. I tell you - this is serious." He had his eyes on his plate and missed the badly disguised look of hurt on Evelyn's face.
"She's going with Rayne?"
Dark eyes lifted and Lorenz swallowed hurriedly. "You didn't know?"
The red head shook. Then turned to look out of the window. The sky had clouded over during the day and the first drops of rain were hitting the glass.
No, she hadn't known. But she had guessed. The last two weeks Liv had spent all of three nights in their apartment. Usually when she had a test the next day - or Rayne was working late in the bar and Liv's work schedule wasn't the same.
But.....Evelyn sighed silently. There was something in those green eyes - it wasn't simply the love both of them obviously felt for each other (anyone, deaf or blind, could tell that) nor the happiness that showed in every smile. That showed everytime their eyes met...
Liv seemed content. Red brows furrowed. But that wasn't the right word either to describe what she saw when she looked at those gentle features.
They had once sat in their living room - it was late and outside a storm had been bending trees. Its angry howling an eerie sound that now and then interrupted their conversation. They had had some wine and just enjoyed each others company. Talking about everything and anything and at one time Liv had looked at her and after hesitating for a moment had asked her if she believed in destiny.
'Well...not really,' she had said. Not sure what to make of the question but Liv had already turned her look away. Studying the glass of wine in her hand. The deep red liquid moving softly with every move.
'I believe that sometimes people are meant to meet. You now....they know that there is someone out there looking for them just as desperately as they do. It's like....' Her voice had been soft. Barely above a whisper. Her eyes never meeting her own puzzled gaze. "It feels like inside there is something missing. A piece to make your soul complete. Someone that will fit.'
And then those eyes had looked up. A pain and loneliness ancient as time looking back at her. She had swallowed unable to say anything.
'...fits here...' Liv had touched her chest. Her voice expressing the pain she had seen in pale green eyes.
Evelyn took a deep breath. Grateful that Lorenz was concentrating on his food and a book he was reading.
Liv and she hadn't talked liked that for a long time. Since Rayne....
And somewhere deep inside Eph admitted that Liv had found that someone.
To complete your soul....
Another silent sigh. But this admission nevertheless hurt and she looked up. Blue eyes searching brown ones. "Don't you think, this is going very fast? I mean, between Liv and Rayne."
Lorenz shrugged. Crossing his arms on top of the table, he leaned forward. "Fast?....mmh. You know, what I think?......I think, they're perfect for each other. I mean, look at them. They have the cutest chemistry together. Klaus said that, too. He only met them once - at the party - and he had asked me if there was something going on between them." He scratched his cheek. Again, reminded that he needed to shave. "And Liv is really happy. And that's what really matters."
His dark eyes were watching Evelyn seriously and she smiled. "I know." Turning back to the window, she released a slow breath. "....I know...."
The walls surrounding the harbour entry were crowded with seagulls and other birds. Waiting for trawlers to come back - hoping for some left-over pieces of fish.
Deep black eyes were surveying the water. Waiting patiently for any signs of movement. Ready to take off and come down on any fish foolish enough to swim to close to the surface.
The deep sound of a ship horn echoed through the noise and lines of cars waiting to board the ferry started moving. Impatient voices and children laughing. Music from several radios.
The air filled with a heavy scent of salt and diesel. Paint and warm asphalt. The sky a grey wall of clouds and a strong wind was brushing along the waiting bodies of the cars standing in line.
"Nervous?" A soft voice.
"Naw....I've been on a ship before." A low, teasing tone.
Gentle laughter and then a blonde head came to rest on a broad shoulder. "That's not what I mean and you know it."
Rayne chuckled and turned her head. Placing a soft kiss on blonde tresses. "I know.......and yeah, I am nervous. How about you?"
A soft sigh warmed her skin through the shirt she wore. "A little. I want them to like you. And....and I am a little afraid of their reaction, so..."
"Mmh." Rayne kept her eyes ahead and shifted gear as the line they stood in started the slow move toward the wide-open mouth of the ferry. Crewmembers were standing by giving assistance or yelling now and then at someone who didn't move as fast as they should.
"Have you talked to your parents?"
Liv stretched a little. Trying to relax stiff muscles. "Yes. I called my mother yesterday. I told her that Torben and I broke up, so she knows he won't be coming with me."
Pale eyes looked at her. Dark brows furrowed in an unconscious frown. Liv smiled and reached over. Smoothing them out with a gentle caress that travelled down chiselled features. "I told them that I am going to bring a friend along, though."
"You know, you don't have to tell them. I mean.....give it some time."
The blonde head on her shoulder shook. "No, I don't want that. I want to be honest with them-and I don't want to hide my feelings for you! I love you.....and I want them to know that!"
Rayne couldn't quite suppress the little happy smile playing on her lips - nor ignore the feeling of intense relief that branded through her.
"Okay," she said. Briefly turning her head to look into smiling green eyes. "Fine with me."
Liv laughed and moved a little closer. Nibbling an earlobe that was just to tempting to ignore.
The taller woman jerked and almost missed the ramp that led to the second level of the boarding area of the ferry. Angry shouts from several crewmen drifted her way.
She scowled at a face that blinked innocent green eyes at her. "You're lucky I love you."
Liv sighed devotedly and nodded. "And don't I know it."
They laughed and Rayne shook her dark head in happy surrender. Yeah....this trip might be real fun after all...
The ferry from Sassnitz, a harbour town at the Baltic Sea, to Trelleborg, one of the southernmost cities in Sweden would take five hours. If the weather was good the deck was usually crowded with tourists enjoying the sun or the calm sea.
It did get a little rough if the sea and the wind decided to have their fun with the large ship making its way across the dark water.
As it was, the ship was rolling back and forth on churning waves and more than one passengers moved through the halls in desperate search for a bathroom.
The crew tried to convince them that eating something and trying to stay occupied would actually help against their seasickness but somehow they weren't very successful. Even a young and very cheerful bartender who offered cookies and sandwiches every five minutes didn't get the reaction he probably had hoped for.
"I'm going to die."
The pitiful groan came from a seat near a window were a small frame was curled tightly against a tall, dark form.
"No you're not."
"Oh yes....I am!"
Another shudder was running through the ship and for a moment the small form stiffened. But then a large warm hand came to rest on her belly and started caressing it in slow and gentle circles. "Easy......Why didn't you tell me that you get seasick?"
Sheepish green yes peered at the handsome features above her. "I usually don't. But when the weather is like today....It's the motion, really. I do fine when the sea is calm."
Those blue eyes were suddenly very close and for a moment Liv had the strangest feeling of standing in a forest clearing. With a gentle breeze brushing by and birds singing up above. She could even smell the scent of flowers.
The feeling past as soft lips touched hers.
"Well, then I guess, we just have to find a way to distract you, right?" The low voice rumbled very close to her ear and she felt a very nice tingling make its way across her skin.
Closing her eyes she surrendered to the gentle touch still pacifying her stomach. "....uh huh...."
Rayne chuckled softly and moved Liv's smaller frame into a more comfortable position against her chest. Taking a deep breath she started humming. A deep sound Liv felt more than she heard it and somehow....
Tilting her head, Rayne listened. An affectionate smile playing on her lips as she heard the soft sounds that indicated that Liv was asleep.
Placing a soft kiss on the small blonde's forehead she turned her attention to the window. Feeling strangely peaceful and content......
"You need to turn the lights on."
"It's still day."
Liv laughed. "I know but it's a rule. You have to drive with lights on day and night in Scandinavia."
Rayne muttered something but switched her lights on.
Liv leaned closer. "Grump."
A pink tongue peeking through red lips was her answer and she laughed. A happy sound that touched something very deep inside the taller woman's soul. Stirring something that had been asleep for so long....
"Okay, we need to take speedway 9 and then switch to E22 in Kristianstad and then towards Karlskrona. My parents live in a small town to the north of it."
They drove in comfortable silence along wide, open fields. Along roads you could actually see the sea from. Through small villages.
Pale blue eyes looked around interested. "It's nice."
Liv sighed. "Yeah....I love it. Especially during wintertime. We don't get a lot of snow down here, but when it's snowing it's like in those fairy tales my mum used to tell us when we were smaller."
The small blonde's voice was soft and Rayne turned her head to study her for a moment.
"You miss your sister, huh?"
Green eyes turned her way and Liv smiled. Brushing blonde bangs to one side, she nodded. "Yes, I do. I mean, I was only ten then and Birte was six but....." A soft sigh. "Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have her with me. You know....." She fell silent and turned her gaze away.
And felt a warm, gentle touch on her thigh. She smiled and covered the fingers on her leg. "....thank you....."
"Mind if we stop for a moment?"
The dark head next to her shook and after a few minutes Rayne found a parking area where they could stop. A small bench faced the sea and the area was surrounded by tall fir trees. Swaying gently in the breeze dancing through pale and dark locks.
Liv took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Simply enjoying the quiet moment. And the tall form touching her back. As well as the pair of arms settling around her waist.
Rayne smiled to herself. How could you be so comfortable with someone? Feel so safe?
She felt the small frame in her arms turn and cuddle closer. Liv's blonde head burying into her chest. A breath warming her skin.
From somewhere the sound of seagulls drifted to them. And very faintly waves crashing against rocks.
It was late afternoon and the temperature started to fall. A soft chill already noticeable. But it couldn't penetrate the warmth those two figures, standing on an empty parking spot, were wrapped in.
"Are they here, yet?"
Henrik Forsberg sighed and turned to his wife. Rolling his eyes, he said: "Honey, the ferry arrives at three and it takes them about three hours to get here." Looking at the clock on the wall, he turned back to the window. "They still have twenty minutes."
Mette put her hands on her hips. "So?"
Not turning his gaze from their driveway, he added: "Don't be so impatient."
His wife laughed and poked his side. "Right."
He smiled, too and took a closer look at her. She was almost two heads smaller than he himself and her rich almost white-blonde hair was kept in wavy locks. Reaching past her shoulders. She had deep blue eyes where he had green and every time he looked at her.......
"God, do you know how much Liv looks like you?"
Mette looked at him in confusion. "Where did that came from?"
He shrugged and brushed a hand through his short brown hair. "Don't know.....it just hit me."
His wife took a step closer and narrowed her eyes in contemplation. Reaching out with one hand, she knocked her knuckles against his forehead. "Like that?"
"Hey!...." He scowled at her but had to join her laughter after a short while. Stealing a gentle kiss, he then turned back to the window.
"Did Liv say why Torben and she broke up?....." Tilting his head another thing came to his mind. "And who is this friend she is bringing along?"
Mette sat down in one of the armchairs that stood in the hallway. Good question. There had been something in Liv's voice when she had mentioned that friend......Mmh.
Hearing the sound of wheels on the driveway they both jumped and rushed to the door.
"I think, we're going to find out soon enough."
They had driven through Lyckeby, past Karlskrona and were now headed to Lyckeåborg - a small village not far from the two towns. Liv's parents worked in Karlskrona - the city nestled in a bay reaching out into the Baltic Sea - but had bought an old manor house in the small village a few years ago.
Her father had been restoring it on the weekends and they both enjoyed the quiet and peace of the country. Her mother even considering to get a few chicken and cows.
Liv had smiled when she had told Rayne about that.
The road they drove on was lined by huge, massive trees and an endless stretch of green fields was reaching for the horizon behind them.
The sun had started its slow descend and the sky started to darken at its very edge. Long shadows brushed across the road. Cutting it into pieces of dark and light.
Liv had grown very quiet. Resting her head against the back of the seat, she was staring out of the side window. Her arms crossed in front of her as if she was cold.
Pale eyes watched her silently and Rayne couldn't quite suppress a feeling of apprehension.
A soft sigh. Subtle movement. A small hand that brushed through short blonde locks. "Yeah."
The soft humming of the engine.
Two sets of breathing.
"No. I'm....." A slow breath. "I'm scared. A little..."
Rayne didn't answer immediately but concentrated on the road again. It was almost deserted as they passed yet another herd of cows. Big brown eyes watching them with only a fleeting shimmer of interest. The massive bodies moving about in slow, unhurried movements.
But before she could answer, Liv leaned over to her. Not yet touching but she felt those green eyes studying her.
"How did your parents react?"
The dark head turned in a brief motion. A broad shoulder shrugged. "My mother was okay with it. I mean, at first she didn't quite know how to deal with it but then....." A small smile. "She was curious, more than anything. You know...about 'things'." By now Rayne chuckled. A deep, rumbling sound that filled the small car for a moment. "We had some hilarious conversations."
Liv smiled and moved again. This time touching her shoulder to Rayne's. Felt a warm hand caress her thigh for a moment.
"What about your father?"
The smile vanished and a thoughtful expression settled on her features.
"He couldn't understand it. After I'd told them......he didn't talk to me for two months. Avoiding me and when I'd tried to talk to him about it, he'd got angry." A small hand covered hers and she smiled. "Don't get me wrong. He didn't yell at me, or called me names......he just looked at me and it had been in his eyes. I don't know.....disappointment, anger....disgust....
By that time I had got ready to leave for Germany and in a way I was happy to leave. My mother had said I should be patient, he would come around but.....I couldn't quite believe it."
Ahead of them another car stopped and Rayne had to slow down their car. Giving her a moment to look into warm green eyes. Quite without conscious thought she leaned forward and kissed soft lips. Watching green eyes flutter closed.
"It'd been my last night in my parents house," she continued after a moment. "My father had spent the entire day out on sea and with friends. By the time I had decided to go to bed he still hadn't returned. I had already accepted the fact, that I would leave without saying goodbye to my father.
When I'd woken up....it was just dawning....he sat at my bed. Just watching me. I don't know how long he had been sitting there. For a long time neither of us had said a word but then he had sighed......and he had reached out with one hand and had touched my hair. Ruffling it for a brief moment. He'd done that ever since I was a little girl. "Are you happy?" he had asked and I'd nodded.
He had dropped his head and taken a deep breath. When he had looked up again, he had smiled. "Then that's all that matters." And with that he'd dropped a brief kiss on my head and left my room. Things had never been the same between us but....." A short shrug. Her voice had got a little hoarse and Rayne cleared her throat.
Liv swallowed and brushed a few tears from her cheek. "I love you."
Those blue eyes turned her way again. And she drowned in a wave of warmth. "I love you, too."
They smiled at each other for a moment. The, pointing ahead of them, Liv said: "At the next crossing to the right. It's the house at the very end of the street."
Rayne nodded and checked for any traffic coming their way. "By the way.....do your parents speak English?"
Liv chuckled and nodded. "Yes, they do....German, as well....just in case."
Rayne sighed in mock-relief which earned her a gentle poke into her side. "Ow."
She turned the wheel and drove onto a driveway that led to a house in typical Scandinavian style. The wood painted in a soothing brown. Surrounded by huge fir trees. The sun was setting by now. Painting everything in a deep orange with just the slightest hint of pink.
She hadn't even turned of the engine when she saw two figures come out of the house. Waving at them.
Liv took a breath and squeezed her hand. And with one last look they stepped out of the car.
The wood was sighing wistfully. Caressed by a cold night breeze. The house was dark except a soft, dim light that lit the living room. A carpet of spots of light twinkling against the velvet background that had dropped over the sky.
Somewhere a cat cried. The sound carrying through the small village. Echoing eerily. Stirring dogs who started howling. Their hoarse voices in strange harmony.
A dark head turned as another limb brushed the outside of the wall. The wood sighed again.
After the warm welcome of Liv's parents they had settled in the living room. They had greeted Liv in Swedish and talked with her for some time, while Rayne had got their baggage out of the car.
Liv didn't have a lot of chances to talk Swedish while in Lübeck and so Rayne enjoyed the sound of her voice forming the strangely archaic language. It sounded hard and yet had a soft, gentle tone to it.
The small blonde tended to whisper in Swedish when they made love. And afterwards. Just caressing her face she sometimes whispered to her in her native language. She didn't always know what was said - but the feelings behind the words were more than obvious....
Hearing her speak in her native language had an almost sensual air to her.
Rayne cleared her throat a little and she returned her attention to the three people she was sitting in the living room with. The room was decorated with furniture held in light-coloured wood. Beech or pine probably.
Colourful, hand-woven carpets, typical for Sweden and Norway, covered polished wooden boards.
As usual in Scandinavia there where no curtains or drapes on the windows. The tall form leaned back a little and was able to make out the stars twinkling up above.
At the moment Liv and her parents were talking about a cousin or other relative that had got into some kind of trouble.
Rayne smiled. They had never given her the feeling that she was an outsider. Mette, Liv's mother always asking her questions about her job, where she was from, originally, her family....her opinion about something they were currently talking about.
But there had been a strange look in her eyes everytime she had looked at her.....
Looking at the older woman, there was no doubt where Liv had got her good looks from. Although she had deep blue eyes where Liv had green and her features had a much more mature air to them - Liv certainly was her mother's daughter. The same smile. And the same gentle and warm eyes.
Rayne sat next to the small blonde and she watched as Liv yawned for the second time in as many minutes. Only barely stopping herself from putting her arm around the smaller frame so Liv could put her head on her shoulder.
But obviously her mother had noticed it, too, because she put her cup of tea down and leaned forward a little.
"Honey.....you must be so tired." A look to the clock hanging on the wall across from her. "God, it's almost midnight."
She got up, followed by her husband who stretched and grinned at them.
"We prepared the guestroom for your friend.....and you hopefully remember where your room is, right?" His voice was teasing but he frowned a little when he didn't get he response he had expected.
Green eyes met pale blue.
Henrik watched the silent exchange and jumped to the wrong conclusion. "Miss Walters....certainly you didn't think about leaving, did you? That's why we have the extra room. You are very welcome to stay." He smiled at them as if to reassure her.
Rayne was about to say something when Mette's voice sounded up.
She had studied her daughter and her friend ever since their arrival. And almost from the first look she had got at her daughter's face she had suspected something.
It was in the way they always managed to be close to each other. Even if they didn't touch. Just an unconscious need to be near. It was in those remarkable blue eyes of Rayne that always softened the moment they turned Liv's way. Even her voice changed. The low rumble gaining a gentle, warm tone. It was in those little movements that she was only barely able to restrain.....Liv did it, too. Although she did touch Rayne now and then with a familiarity only....
Taking a step forward she looked at her daughter. Tilting her head a little, she asked: "Hon är din älkare." It wasn't a question.
Liv released a slow breath.
It took a moment before the words registered with Hernik and then his green eyes widened. "Vad?!"
Rayne watched them closely and took a step closer. Her tall frame shadowing Liv's. And if this was all the reassurance she needed, Liv straightened.
"Wait, wait, wait......are you telling me; you are lovers?!" Henrik looked a little shell-shocked and his voice was strangely hoarse.
"No!" This time his voice was cold and he actually took a step back. "I want an answer!"
Not willing to stand back and let Liv take all the rage, Rayne put her hands on the slightly trembling shoulders in front of her. Feeling Liv lean into her own body. She could only guess what had been said but....
Fixing her coldest stare at Henrik she said: "If you asked, if your daughter and I love each other then the answer is: yes."
She said it in a low, calm voice but he saw it in her eyes. Those pale eyes that told him to back off.
He bristled at her challenge and stepped forward again. "Get out of my house!"
"Henrik!" It was Mette's voice that shouted at him. Stopping anything else he might say - and regret in the morning.... Putting a hand on his arm, she tried to calm him down. She saw the look on Liv's face. Knowing that her daughter was close to tears.
Also seeing the obvious support she sought in the close contact to Rayne.
"Let's not overreact, Henrik. It's late. We all are tired. Let's talk about this tomorrow....calmly." The last remark was meant for her husband. But he only glared at her and then turned and headed into the kitchen.
Liv swallowed. She took a shaky breath and turned her body. Almost desperately searching the warm embrace that surrounded her immediately.
Mette watched the interaction with a tight smile and released a slow breath. "I'm sorry, honey. I don't know what got into him."
"....it's okay..." A muffled whisper since Liv hadn't so much as moved in Rayne's arms.
"No, no...it's not okay but .....we talk tomorrow, all right?"
The pale head nodded.
"Okay....why don't you go ahead. You know the way to your room?" It was a weak attempt at a joke but it did get a small smile from Liv and Rayne.
Mette leaned against the doorframe of the living room, watching as Rayne took their baggage and followed Liv upstairs. And taking another deep breath she headed into the kitchen.
Rayne put down their bags and turned to Liv.
The small blonde stood in the middle of the room. A lost look on her face. She took another shaky breath and bit her lower lip. Desperately trying to fight the tears that threatened to fall any minute.
She knew that Rayne was watching her.
God.....after everything she had heard from Rayne and Lorenz, she really hadn't expected them to react with overwhelming joy but her father's reaction hurt nevertheless. The look in his eyes had hurt...
She felt a gentle hand on her chin and raised her head. Looking into understanding blue eyes broke any resolve she might have had and she started crying in earnest.
Folded into a harbour of warmth and safety she cried.
Not noticing that Rayne moved them to the bed and sat down. Moving her into a more comfortable position. But she did hear the low voice hum.
"...I don't....I don't know what I would do without....without you...."
A warm hand rubbed her back and she felt the gentle touch on her temple where Rayne had kissed her.
She finally settled down. Taking a deep breath she rubbed a hand across her face and tried a shaky smile.
And was rewarded with a soft kiss.
"It's gonna be okay.....he just needs to settle down. He'll probably apologise tomorrow morning."
Another kiss silenced any protest. "It's going to be okay."
She looked into those blue eyes.....and believed. Just having Rayne here, meant everything would be okay. She reached up and touched those chiselled features. Caressing them gently. Losing herself in blue depths.
"I love you."
"Jag älskar dig."
They smiled at each other. Until Rayne leaned forward a little and touched her forehead to Liv's. "Okay?"
The blonde head nodded and Liv moved. Allowing Rayne to get up. Watching as the tall form moved around the room. Coming back with their pyjamas.
Rayne pulled her shirt over her head and immediately felt Liv settle against her back. Her soft touch caressing her skin in a very distracting way.
Felt a long breath warm her shoulder as tender fingers caressed the small image they found there.
"When did you get this?" A quiet whisper.
She knew that Liv tried to stay strong. Not let her father's reaction bother her too much but she also understood how hard that was.
Seeing someone you love react to you this way always hurt. And it always would.
Closing her eyes she took a deep breath. Nevertheless enjoying the gentle touch on her back. And the feelings it carried.
"Mmh....a few years ago. Just one of these crazy things I did when I was younger." She consciously gave her voice a self-pitying tone and got the reaction she had hoped for. A soft snort drifted her way.
Then soft lips touched the bird.
"Why a hummingbird?"
She turned around. Cupping those gentle features with one hand she shrugged. "I'm not sure, really. I saw the picture of it and......it just...." Her thumb brushed soft, downy skin. "It just felt right. Somehow..."
She smiled and sat down on the bed. "It fit."
Liv stepped forward in between her legs. Feeling Rayne's hands coming to rest on her hips. Trembling as soft lips touched her belly.
She ran her fingers through the dark mane. And then pale brows wrinkled in thought.
"How old are you, anyway?"
The low chuckle tickled her skin and she giggled. The sound quickly turning into a soft moan as Rayne lifted her shirt and a warm tongue touched her navel.
"Thirty two this year."
"You are older than me." A soft whisper on an uneven breath.
She looked into amused pale eyes as dark brows rose in silent comment. Liv just winked at her and leaned down to steal a kiss. "My older woman."
That got a real laugh out of Rayne and she tickled the small frame in her arms. Making Liv wiggle in a feeble attempt to escape.
"Don't joke about that! I'm gonna have grey hair long before you do."
She meant it jokingly but froze when she realised how it sounded. What it implied....
Not that it wasn't true. Because she already knew that she wanted their relationship to be serious. One that would last.
Uncertain blue eyes blinked at Liv. But that didn't mean that Liv wanted the same thing.
The small blonde swallowed. This was really the first time that Rayne had said something that indicated what she wanted from their relationship. And for a moment Liv wasn't sure if she should laugh or cry. Her emotions in a turmoil after the scene with her father.
She watched those blue eyes looking at her with an almost haunted expression in them. Felt the stiffness in the tall frame. She's afraid. The thought hit her all of a sudden.
Taking a deep breath she touched her forehead to Rayne's. Their eyes at close range and then she smiled. Feeling how Rayne slowly - ever so slowly relaxed.
She brushed dark locks to one side. A motion that turned into a soft caress as her fingers trailed down Rayne's cheek. Closing her eyes she kissed those soft lips again. Felt strong arms close around her as they both got lost in a world of their own for a small eternity.
Not breaking the contact of their lips, she whispered: "I can't wait to see that."
And then her back met the softness of the bed and there was nothing else but Rayne's gentle touch and the fire building inside.
Nothing but warmth and love emanating from the tall form touching hers in its entire length. Taking them both away on a wave of emotions and sensations that felt so new - and yet so familiar that she let go without a second thought. Trusted completely....
Knowing that Rayne would catch her.
The wind was coming from the sea. Bringing with him the slightest hint of salt and sand. Brushing along sleeping houses and slowly awakening trees. Tickling new-born leaves. Their rustle sounding like cheerful laughter.
The sun had yet to rise but the dark of the night already started to retreat. Like a blanket being pulled away it revealed pale layers of grey on the sky.
Birds were blinking sleepily at the new dawning day. The warmth of their nests steaming in the morning chill.
Dew had caught itself along slim blades of grass. Caressing them in a gentle touch as it moved...stirring them awake. From somewhere the creaking of a bicycle was heard followed by soft thuds as the paper hit a driveway.
And then slowly, hesitantly rays of light broke through the morning mist. Causing the drops of dew to sparkle brightly.
They were crawling along the wall of a house. Curiously peeking into the windows they found.....giggling at the sight before them.
Their light hit a bed that stood under the window. It's length reaching into the room. On top of the bed a small frame lay on its stomach, short blonde hair dishevelled - gentle features relaxed in sleep. The last trace of a smile still visible.
Covering the small form partly was a taller, broader figure. A halo of dark hair fanned across a pillow. Their hands joined in a gentle grip where their fingers met outside of the covers.
Pale blue eyes contend with studying soft features so close by. She didn't want to move not wanting to wake Liv up. Her breath was brushing across a slowly moving shoulderblade and she moved her head slightly. Brushing her lips across the soft skin as lightly as possible.
Her reward a soft noise and Liv moving even closer into her own tall frame.
"...I love you...." The whisper barely stirred the air and yet the smile on the sleeping face broadened.
Turning her eyes towards the window she mused about the last few days they had spent here. As she had predicted Liv's father had apologised to both of them the next day. And she had seen in those green eyes how much it had meant to Liv. The following days had been actually a lot of fun. Liv's parents determined to tell her as many embarrassing stories of Liv's childhood as they possibly could.
One evening they had sat on the porch facing the backyard and Mette had shown her pictures of Liv as a baby until her high school graduation. She had been an awfully cute child and especially the later pictures hinted at the beauty that was now so obvious to admiring pale blue eyes.
Although - that reminded her to distract her mother during their visit long enough so she wouldn't even think about taking out the old pictures. But something in those smiling green eyes had told her it would be in vain, anyway.
Liv's mother had been very nice during those days but Henrik, Liv's father had seemed still distant to her. He had joked with Liv...teased her. His love for his daughter very obvious but he never really knew what to say to Rayne when they happened to be alone for a few moments.
A soft sigh and slight movement brought her out of her musings. Pale blue eyes softened. She knew Liv wouldn't wake up for another few hours so she slowly - ever so slowly released their entwined fingers and moved her own body away from the warmth she had floated in.
This time pale brows furrowed. Liv feeling the loss of Rayne's touch even in her sleep.
"Ssh.....it's okay. I'll be back in a minute..." The low whisper seemed to satisfy the small blonde who nevertheless rolled over and buried her face into the pillow Rayne had been sleeping on.
The taller woman reached out and smoothed out the still lingering frown. After a few moments of just watching Liv sleep she put on a pair of sweatpants and a T-shirt and left the room.
The house lay quiet.
The wooden boards underneath her sighing softly as she moved down the stairs into the living room.
Beams of light had settled on the floor....flakes of dust dancing to their silent music.
Rayne crossed her arms over her chest to fight off the slight chill that still lingered in the room from the night. Then her eyes found the pictures on one wall.
Hesitating a moment, she stepped closer.
A smile already playing on her lips as she saw pictures of Liv as a baby. As a two year old. With another baby. And then one where both girls where older.
Birte. She knew. Liv's sister that had died at the age of six. Where Liv had blonde hair her sister had brown locks just like her father but she had the same eyes as Liv. A sparkling green. They were both smiling into the camera. Happy, broad smiles.
"She misses her a lot."
The low voice made her almost jump. Almost - hadn't she heard the soft footsteps moments before.
"I know." Just as quiet.
She turned and faced Henrik who stood in the door. Dressed in a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. His hair still a little dishevelled.
He seemed to contemplate something and then sighed. Stepping into the room, he came to a halt only a few steps away from her. Their were almost the same height and he looked into her eyes.
Over the last few day he had realised beyond a doubt that the two loved each other. God, it was so obvious sometimes just by them looking at each other that he had felt like intruding into something so deep and intimate...
But this was his little girl they were talking about! He worried about her but he also understood that this wasn't his choice to make. Liv was old enough to make her own decisions - but that didn't mean that he had to like them.
But he wanted his girl to be happy - and it was plain to see that Rayne made her happy.
He took a deep breath and studied the tall, silent woman in front of him. Those angular features and then those eyes....They seemed to reach right into you. Holding a fire all of their own.
He turned away and sat down in one of the armchairs. Gesturing to Rayne to take a seat, as well.
Biting his lower lip - a habit she had discovered that usually meant his was nervous - he took a deep breath.
His green eyes met her gaze. "Ever heard the saying about the bird and the fish?"
The dark headed tilted to one side in thought for a moment but then Rayne nodded.
"Well..." He straightened a little. "I guess she has found her fish, hasn't she?" The low chuckle surprised him a little but at least she didn't take it the wrong way.
But then his eyes turned serious. "Don't ever hurt my little girl." There was no menace in his voice. No threat - just the quiet plea of a worried father.
Rayne leaned forward a little. "I love Liv. With all my heart.....I would never hurt her!"
They sat there in silence. Neither dropping their gaze. And then Henrik smiled and stood up. Holding out his hand, he waited until Rayne took it. Confusion evident in her pale eyes.
"Welcome to the family, Rayne."
At the door Mette swallowed and brushed away tears. A happy smile on her face. Turning around silently she moved back into their bedroom.
They hadn't noticed her and still stood, looking at each other until Henrik grinned. Tilting his head, he leaned forward a little.
"Do you like fishing?"
A low chuckle was his only answer.
Outside the sun broke through the clouds. Bathing everything in warmth and light. The last traces of mist fading into nothingness....and somewhere a bird started to sing.
It was going to be a beautiful day.
Matthias turned the key and opened the door. A gust of warmth greeting them as their entered their apartment. Both tired from the party although they had both enjoyed it. Matthias more so because he didn't have as many opportunities to visit Liv as he had a few years ago.
Corinna sighed and wiggled out of her coat. "Gott...I'm freezing."
The tall blond man next to her smiled and hugged her. Not only to warm her but as well as to remind himself she was still here. Almost as if to reassure him...
Corinna frowned and moved back a little. Trying to look into his face.
"Are you okay?"
He nodded silently and let go.
But she wasn't satisfied with this answer and he could see it in her eyes. He cupped her cheek in a gentle touch. His thumb caressing her skin.
"Just a lot of old memories."
"I'll say...." She had already sat down on their bed as they had moved into the bedroom. What he had told her on their way home....She couldn't quite make sense out of it.
Continuing their conversation, she said: "Okay...so Liv's parents were all right with their relationship. It took a little time but they accepted it?"
"Mmh..." Matthias voice was muffled as he brushed his teeth in the adjoining bathroom.
Dark brows wrinkled in confusion. "How about Rayne's mum?"
His blond head appeared in the doorframe. He smiled, but it was strangely sad. "Rose loves Liv! It took all of five minutes and Liv had conquered her heart." His voice became serious as he sat down next to her. "She had always hoped that Ray would one day find the right person. She always seemed so....." He frowned. "...Lost, in a way. ..... And meeting Liv - Rose just knew that she was the one."
While he was talking Corinna had moved into the bathroom and finished getting ready for bed. Slipping into a simple night-gown she came to a halt before him. He dropped his hands on her hips and rested his forehead against her belly.
Tender hands were brushing through his hair and Corinna felt a slow breath warm her skin through the cloth.
Crawling into bed next to him - wrapped up in a warm embrace, she was still puzzling over Rayne and Liv.
"So...both their parents were happy for them. From what you told me they obviously loved each other more than anything."
"...they were meant for each other...." His voice was a low whisper.
"And from what I've seen today...they obviously still love each other........But why aren't they together anymore? What went wrong?"
His tall frame moved and he switched off the light.
They lay in silence for a long time. Long enough that she thought he wouldn't answer - but then his voice broke through the dark. A low, sad whisper.
To be continued in part 6
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