Who's Counting


isis_icon.gif sable_icon.gif

Scene Title Who's Counting
Synopsis Hours. Months. Years. The beat. Who's counting?
Date July 27, 2019

There was simply no way that Sable was going to let that night go without Joanne’s - or, rather, Isis’ - number. No way she was going to risk a sudden disappearance without recourse, however patchy cell service can be in the risen New York. And in the fives days that pass between their reunion and this particular morning, she’s been sending light and flirty texts with a careful consistency. There’s no way to transmit via SMS the vivid thrum of their proximity, but there is a thrill to love letters that exists in the time between missives, be they months or days or just moments. Their power is in the presence of absence, in the materialization of thought.

But this morning, the only message she sends is this: 1 hr your place y/n? It’s rather less crafted than the poetic praises Sable’s been sending so far, but in its brevity and directness it offers something that has hovered behind he more lyrical appeals: the presence her absence has promised, the materialization of her. Without ceremony, and with very little time to prepare, Sable has just pitched the second date- assuming you subscribe to a new calendar. Here’s hoping spontaneity is not just for the young and the foolish.


Isis: See you soon.

Bay Ridge: Dirk and Isis’s Apartment

The door to the apartment has been left ajar in expectation of Sable’s arrival. There’s a scurry of motion through the crack. Isis scrambles past with an armful of laundry and launches the collection into a closet at the end of the hall before slamming shut the slatted closet door. She wheels around and turns a scrutinizing eye back on the apartment before fluffing her garnet hair back along the crisscrossing of the multi-strapped tanktop that hangs loosely from her bare, freckled shoulders.

You can almost feel the grin, transmitted across psychic space as quick as any text message, accompanying the reply: groovy. No more is sent, no plan pitched or banter tossed; the date is set and it’s all preparation and anticipation until then. Maybe she’s trying to seem cool, and maybe that works. The truth is, she’s buzzing with a new kind of eager agitation. The reunion was unexpected, unintended, and thus a little unreal, and there is a comfort in that. Now… now she has to make sure it’s for real. That neither of them is about to disappear, or wake up to discover it was all a dream.

So it’s with somewhat uncharacteristic nervousness that Sable first peers through the crack, then toes open the door. She wears a crooked smile, compensating for her cocked head as she sidles into the space, her senses sharpened as she realizes - in every sense - that Isis lives here. This is where she eats and naps and laughs and mopes; it’s where she does laundry (allegedly). It’s where she lays her fiery mane down upon a pillow to sleep each night. It shouldn’t be so strange, they were neighbors once, but somehow it’s all the more odd, her gilded memories struggling to fit with this new, ever-so material reality.

She’s dressed up, at least by Sabeline standards, in a dark blue button-down workman’s shirt that’s somehow small enough to fit her frame, with faded charcoal skinny-jeans and a light leather jacket that she’s draped over one shoulder because, honestly, it’s too hot for jackets, let alone ones made of leather. But she didn’t want to show up underdressed, you see. Nor unprepared, as evidenced by the fact the hand that isn’t keeping the jacket perched in ever-so-nonchalante fashion over her shoulder is holding… why yes, it’s a bouquet of wildflowers. Modestly sized and likely hand-plucked by Sable herself, and thus the very definition of amateur, it still manages a minor riot of color.

“Knock knock?”

Isis stops mid-preening, fingers caught up behind her head in the lazy waves of her hair, elbows sticking out awkwardly at either side of her head. She’s stuck this way, priorities being what they are, for as long as it takes for her gaze to glide first one way, curiously, and then the other, appreciatively, over Sables appearance in the doorway. A smile starts as a teasing little thing, just a tickle at one corner of peach pale lips, before it blossoms fully and her hands fall down to her side. “You brought flowers…” her alto tones tilt with an air of playful teasing that fails to disguise her approval.

As the little redhead moves forward, she rubs her palms on the dark denim snug at her hips, wicking away a bit of nervous sweat that had collected between her fingers as she’d fluttered wildly about the apartment only minutes before. “I almost didn’t notice them what with all…” There’s a sweeping gesture over Sable’s whole person as the distance between the two women grows exceedingly small. “This.”

Her free hand comes up to gently cup the spindly stems jutting out beneath Sable’s hand, but doesn’t move to take the flowers so much as to use the excuse to simply linger within the dark-haired woman’s personal space. “I’m glad you texted,” Isis adds, a quieter tone and the silence that follows lending a meaningful weight to words that would otherwise simply be a passing pleasantry.

“Sure did,” Sable says, spirits buoyed by the little intimacy that comes from catching the other woman in the midst of something as mundane, something as personal, as preening. Better than a pose is a candid portrait. “Didn’t want my intentions t’ be ambiguous or nothin’.”

She lets the slight weight of the flowers ease into Isis’ hand. Careful not to inadvertently brush skin against skin, she can come very close indeed; her own quirk of genetics lets her toe that line to the finest degree. A reason, she’s reasoned, for why they are well matched; she’s not liable to get caught by accidental contact, nor to shy away from something purposeful, at least if she’s paying attention. And attention is not something she lacks when Isis is present.

“I’m glad you answered,” Sable says, staying in that circumference, wordlessly affirming that Isis is welcome to cross that boundary, to dare closeness. “Second date’s not usually at someone’s place, but I figured… why act like we’re at square one?” And indeed, there is a certain presumption in the way her eyes glide across Isis; she does not bother to try and be discreet.

“Plus we can beat feet any time, hit the town- just as long as you don’t mind bein’ spotted with a miscreant like yours truly.”

“Was there ever a square one? For us?” There’s an admittedly mischevious quality to Isis’s tone on the present query. Still, there is a hint of sincere curiosity - had Isis overstepped when she had invited Sable into her flesh that very first day? She tips her head a gentle degree, all the better to observe her guest with that unerringly curious gaze. The redhead lingers long enough to let Sable’s attention drink its fill before she takes the wildflower bouquet in full and turns towards the small kitchen area off to the side.

“We can stay as long or as short as you like, m’dear. I think having you by my side can only improve my image.” With a chin turned to tuck against her shoulder, she flashes a squinty-eyed smile back at Sable. It’s not quite a wink, since she’s never managed to master that fun and flirty gesture, but the vibe is much the same.

Vase? Vase. Vase. Of course Dirk has a vase, in the obligatory under-the-sink-vase-storage location. The wildflower bouquet makes a perfect centerpiece on the small two-seat dinner table in the kitchen. Isis eyes the display, a delicate touch moving a flower here and there till they are just so - a hint of compulsivity gleaned in the tedious way she balances the bouquet. But, her gaze ultimately returns to Sable. “I can’t cook, so we’ll order in. It’s for everyone’s safety, I promise. But, I do know how to pour a drink.” She pops a brow, making the statement a question - What’ll it be?

There remains an amazement in Sable’s admiration, one she herself cannot properly account for. There’s no question as to the loveliness that made kissing Joanna the temptation it was when they met, but good looks don’t quite account for the powerful undertow she feels, both then and now. It still feels like a dream on the edge of waking, a spell at the brink of breaking. And it felt that way even before fate pulled them apart. The miraculous reunion may heighten the effect, but it is not its genesis.

“How bad’s your reputation that I’d make for an improvement?” Sable jibes. The potential for wickedness appears, in Isis’ case, to be no disincentive. She follows the redhead deeper into the apartment, giving the space the most cursory of looks before she enjoys the sight of the woman she’s come expressly to see. The particularity with which she adjusts the blooms is not something Sable chalks up to pathology; to her it looks like artistry, and thus ennobled and ennobling- making her little offering into something more.

“Left to my own devices, darlin’, I’m a simple woman. Gin and tonic, if you got the fixin’s. Whiskey ‘n’ water if not. That, or you can try ‘n’ show off your mixological-type skills, in which case-” she tips a wink, showing off her own skill set, “feel free to surprise me.”

As she draws closer, her hands move with care and deliberation, each movement telegraphed. Unimpeded, they’ll settle on her hostess’ hips, touch light but inarguably intimate. She’s never been so cognizant of how barriers can paradoxically permit contact.

“You sayin’ I’m a pale pawn, skippin’ the first square as I make for the red queen?”

“Bad reputation? Oh gosh, no - more lack of reputation. I’ve been, at least publically, on my best behavior.” Isis puffs up proudly - chest high, shoulders back, chin up. Her smile is nothing short of beaming. “So, if miscreant is where you’re at - and rebel is what I’m going for - we’d make a good team strutting ‘bout, no?”

The gesture of raising a hand towards a nearby cabinet slows as Sable’s approach. Or, perhaps the world slows. Either way, that playfully lofty posture still holding her poised so, Isis presents an open target for Sable’s calculated light touch. This stances also give the added vantage of looking down over her slightly shorter companion. And she does, at her leisure, with a growingly enticing smile. Her body is hot to the touch even through fabric, but that could be attributed easily to the dark-haired creature’s inspiration.

“I’ve never been one for chess,” her tone is quiet and more gravely, alto tones rolling over themselves more as a purr than a song. “While I like the idea of the game - the challenge, the scheming, the chase…” She shakes her head slightly, mane of garnet shimmering behind her, and lowers her chin. “I’m too impatient. I’m more a checkers girl - just jump.”

Any suspicion that the legend of Joanne has outpaced the reality has entirely evaporated. The purr, and the words it carries, causes Sable’s breath to catch for half a moment. Her enjoyment is evidenced in the tone of her own half-growl, tilted towards Isis’ ear. “Girl, with talk like that… you could be playing me like a mandolin, and I’d still make whatever melody you wished for.”

Fingers press, bespeaking a desire that revels in its own frustration. Palms mold themselves to the angle of her hips. The tip of her nose dares to graze the outermost veil of carmine color. Her breath tickles her skin. Touches that are not touches, yet still manage to thrill.

“You know I won’t do nothin’ you don’t ask for outright. Not even gonna guess. But I want you to know— I ain’t scared. You take my hand, and we’ll take the leap together.” Not scared, no, so it must be another step in the dance that causes her to shift away from Isis, the clasp loosening and dissolving as she gives her hostess room to fix the promised drink.

Drinks? What drinks?

There’s only this little siren, her words a warm song on the senses. Heavy lids fall over hazel eyes as Isis tilts her head towards the fluttery sensation of Sabel’s breath at her cheek and ear. The pressure of fingers at her hips, bearing the weight of things better left unspoken - stirrings best defined whereby actions speak so much louder than words - inspire a shuddering little breath inward as her weight rocks forwards onto her toes.

Isis’s eyes flutter open wide as cold air sweeps in to quickly fill the void where Sable’s warm body had been. A small pale hand flicks out, trying to catch the little siren by the small of her back and reel her catch back in. “Ask? You’re going to make me ask?” She chuckles. “All ‘pretty please with a cherry on top’-style?” Her heart is racing between them, her pale cheeks flush with it. The effect bubbles up as a hearty laugh that has her shaking her head in obvious disbelief.

There’s a thought there, something she visibly chews on a moment before she lowers her head and inclines her chin, as if nudging the air before Sable’s nose with her own. “I…” The unspoken sentiment doesn’t taste quite right and she gives a purse-lipped smirk before chewing it over further. “I’d almost forgotten just how much trouble you can be. The good kind.”

If Isis asks, Sable will answer. If Isis reaches out, Sable’s willing to be drawn back. Come and go, push and pull, red and black- the oscillation has Sable’s her spinning, grinning, and it’s only her preternatural deftness that allows her not to bump right into Isis as she gravitates back towards her hostess, so ready is her return.

She turns, looks Isis in the eye, takes in the way the other woman reacts, trying to puzzle out to unspoken. Her hands alight on her hips once more, back again, like a microcosm of their larger interaction, only this time the encounter is not the least bit accidental. And that’s rather the point, isn’t it? The contact is a choice. And so Sable decides. She gives just this as a warning:

“How ‘bout I remind you?”

And then she kisses Isis on the mouth.

Just enough warning…

Isis lets herself, and thus her lip-locked companion, sink towards the precarious, fluttering edges of their respective bodies - that thin membrane where nerves fire under the heat of the other party’s touch. With a deep quietly hissed breath pulled between the kiss, the body swapper reels herself back from the precipice and ties on a mental anchor. She growls quietly as clarity comes to them both - the effort of the anchor an annoying distraction, no matter how minimal, from the siren.

“That…” Isis manages once willing to come up for air, eyes remaining closed and her brows lifting. “… Is a good reminder.” She licks across her own smile, muffling a warm chuckle. Slowly, dark lashes reveal golden-hazel eyes anew, Sable’s visage reflected in the verdant-molten pools. And, in a blink, the smile simply… disappears. There isn’t tie enough to worry about the fleeting expression, though, as there’s nothing unspoken to puzzle out this time. Just a clear, concise: “Fuck it.”

Thud. The cabinet door slams shut.

Thud. So too does the door to Isis’s bedroom…

The little kitchenette stands decidedly empty…

Some time later…
Come on, we’re all mature enough not to count how long…
Wait. Mature? Oh, right…

1 Hour Later

Isis falls back into the pillows with a huff and a blossom of sanguine locks wild and stark against dark gray bedding. She runs a hand from her forehead back overtop her hair and grins unabashedly. “Sorry, not sorry - we definitely had some time to make up for, I feel.” The flush of heat across her skin is clearly not attributed to a fever alone any longer. She rolls onto her side and tucks one palm under her own cheek as her gaze scans the figure beside. “Is ‘Absence makes the loins grow fonder’ a thing? We could sell that to Hallmark.” The redhead bobs her brows once, but as they lower her smile takes on a more sincere quality while a little hand comes up to trace an outline of Sable’s shoulder upon the air, a breath’s distance from actually touching.

Within the hillocks of gray, pale Sable is ready to slip into languor, a tension held longer than even she, knowing inhabitant of her own body, had realized. The note, sustained if faintly for years, has finally resolved in a sudden crescendo.

“C’n see it on the shelf already,” she says, with a chuckle, as Isis proposes her new line of provocative stationary. “Rose red on coal black.” A grin flashes, gleeful, beforing fading into fondness in tandem with Isis’ own.

She shifts a little under the almost-touch, as if stirred by invisible forces, evidence of animal magnetism. You’d think that, after that, Sable might better bear that tissue-thin space of separation. In a way she does, knowing it is surmountable. But the very promise of traversal drives her to distraction. Ready to pluck that string within once more. But if there is one thing she’s learned from Isis - philosophically, at least - it’s the value of alternating heedlessness with patience. And a little space lets her eyes do as her hands would, wander and wonder, before finally meeting companion’s gaze.

“Fool’s question, darlin’, but I gotta ask.” There’s a gravity in Sable’s expression that tempers, lends seriousness to a potentially silly question: “You figure fate ever ties folks together?”

While Sable’s gaze wanders, Isis’s is still. She sees only that negative space - the crescent of electrified air that separates the tip of her spidering fingers and the freshly flushed warm flesh of her partner. Her long pale body stretched out on one side, she is uncommonly still beside Sable. All her restlessness is caught up in her fingers, danging and channeling the remaining tendrils of her wanton in that invisible minuscule boundary between them.

Sable’s voice snatches her from the placid depths of idle reverie. Her hazel gaze flicks to and fro, trying to catch and hold fast to something there in the depths of the smaller woman’s eyes. “Mmm,” the redhead replies at first. Nocomittally ambiguous. The right side of her lip twitches up into a smirk. “Like three old hags weaving the story of our life?” She chuckles while her gaze and her hand drift downward to adjust the lay of the sheet around the shelf of Sable’s hip. “I bet they blushed when they read that last part.”

Isis’s gaze returns, searches, and holds… her smirk wanes slightly - a phantom of a smile with ghostly tendrils of levity softening a contour here or there to keep from getting too serious. “The general concept of fate - I choose to ignore for the sake of my remaining sanity.” She wrinkles her little nose in feigned distaste. “But, I have to admit that there are some folks it seems we’re destined to meet. What we choose to make of those connections, though, that’s our choice - what we give to, take from, and grow with them - that’s on us.” She bits gently askew on her own lower lip, lofting a brow in silently returned query.

“We make the fates blush, huh?” Sable says with a quirk of a smile, self-consciously charmed. “Good lyric, darlin’. Keep that up, you might just turn out t’ be a muse on top of everything else.” It’s a line as old as lyricism, and there’s a touch of irony to it which belies Sable’s feelings both ways, her skepticism and her faith.

“I used to think a lot about what was fated ‘n’ such.” Her eyes roll up to the ceiling, coming free of Isis long enough for a contemplation extending past today’s encounter, briefly defying emotional gravity. “Who I was meant to be. Who I was meant to be with. Year past. Before-” Her gaze descends once again, obeying the small-scale inevitability of beauty beside her. “I’d have made a whole lot of this.” A jut of the chin connects them in gesture across the intermediate space. “Now… well, I’m inclined to try and let things be. Not let ‘em lie.” Her smile broadens into a grin, her satisfaction feline as she luxuriates in the memory of the past hour. “But let ‘em become, without prognostications.”

With great care, Sable extends her arm, hand moving with a string musician’s delicacy, finding a lock of Isis’ hair and running her fingertips along the silken strands. It’s light, so light, that caress, but due to no hesitance. Due, instead, to a preternaturally refined care, the special attention which is her compliment to her partner’s own particularity. “Hard to ‘ken what the universe wants. Tough enough to figure what we want. Well- sometimes. Other times-” she twirls a coil of red about her finger, catching it with her thumb for a passing moment before letting it slip free, -“it comes across as real simple.”

"A muse, hm? I imagine that comes with a plethora of delightful benefits," Isis encourages with a pointed wandering of her gaze along Sable's suggestively blanketed figure.

Hazel eyes return to catch the line of Sable's own when the poetic songwriter lays out the threads of what was versus what is. She steals a moment by adjusting the cusp of her hand, fingers tangled up in her own locks to support her propped head. But, even still when she settles its with a incredulously popped brow in Sable's direction.

"I honestly cannot tell if what you say is the truth, or what you want to be the truth…" the slender, embrace-tussled redhead comments in carefully selected octave - sans judgment, dipped in curiosity, with just a pinch of lighthearted teasing - the pitch of one treading very carefully. Her peach pale lips quirk up gently on one side, she draws her body closer. “But, so long as what you want and what I want seem to jive, I’ll play along to your tune.”

“Having played the part myself before, I can say- it’s got its perks,” Sable says, just a little smug; it’s a sentiment that’s easy to sustain, lying parallel with beauty in bed. “But I always thought myself more the artist. Sure do now, with you bein’ such a pretty picture.”

She’s visibly grateful for the lightness you maintain, her own words placed with uncommon delicacy. Wanting is easy, having thrilling, but what comes after, after satisfaction- things like expectation, things like consideration, all the trouble that the future, prolonged, can hold. And the thoughtfulness that finds its way into features otherwise besotted is not fearful, just careful.

“That’s fine, I pledge. I couldn’t go askin’ for anything else,” she says, at length. “That’s all I’m saying, anyhow. That I want to see you again. As long as it keeps makin’ sense.”

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