by Lho Brockhoff
There was a brief break from the continuous howls of the storm. Through the momentary silence you could hear careful scribbles of the tiny scientist echoed slightly against the bare, metallic walls of the small cabin.
The two men were in a comfortable silence, ignoring the rocking movements of the ship, as rain whipped against the single porthole. Vincent was stooped lightly over his paper filled with orderly chaotic calculations and numbers. Raoul absorbed by his book.
The comfortable silence was brought to an end as the ship made a sudden turn, and Vincent’s inkpot knocked over, soaking the fine papers in sticky, black liquid.
Vincent cursed under his breath.
“This is impossible,” he grumbled, trying to save the work he had spent most of the evening with.
“Why don’t you just bring one of those new type-writing apparatus?” Raoul asked, not looking up from his work of literacy. Vincent noted that he had been immersed in the book for quite a while now. He was slightly puzzled by how much attention the soldier had given the book, considering that reading wasn’t exactly his favourite occupation.
“Those big, clumsy things? I’d never get any real work done with them,” he simply replied. “Can’t get a real feel for the work.”
“You’d build a mechanical woman if you could and you worry about getting a right feel for numbers?” Raoul chuckled, seemingly thinking this to be quite clever. Vincent ignored him, as he was increasingly distracted and distraught by the ink that was now being smeared on his hands.
“I don’t see why we have to travel by sea anyway. It’s so horribly outdated,” he complained.
“Kimberly is the most trusted name in captains … on the black market anyway.”
“No she isn’t.”
“Well she’s my most trusted captain, and she won’t rat us out to the Monarchy, so it’s really all we have to go by. You know that all airships are Monarchy property.”
Vincent would normally teach Raoul a thing or two about the risky business of making deals with criminals, but he was now too upset by the black substance that he had accidentally got all over his hands, shirt and now even onto his glasses. He was unable to grasp the concept of this liquid that wouldn’t be wiped off no matter how hard he tried, and the panic was slowly taking a hold of him.
A light shock went through his body as he felt a warm hand on his shoulder, and Raoul stooped over him, producing a handkerchief from his pocket. He dipped it in water and began to slowly wash off the aggressive substance from Vincent’s hands in a slow, soothing way. The oil-lamp flickered, and with his mane of hair Raoul looked more like a lion than usual in the orange glow. Vincent took in the warm comfort of the arms around him. The tall, muscular soldier smelled like sweat and yesterday’s alcohol, but the scent was familiar and nice.
“There, all better,” he said reassuringly as he had so many times before during their friendship. He then proceeded to ruffle his hair with a deep chuckle. Vincent huffed and scowled as Raoul broke off the contact. However soothing it felt, it was always embarrassing. The soldier went to the chair, picked up his jacket and threw it over his shoulders, quite casually.
“Where are you going?”
“Discuss our plans with the captain.”
Vincent had seen that stupid grin before on.
He rolled his eyes.
“I’d never be able to look myself in the eyes if I didn’t get a shot at her.”
“Control yourself,” he huffed as he returned to his work, starting over. Raoul patted the top of his head, before leaving, a whistling tune on his lips.
It wasn’t exactly easy to return to work with the cabin empty and the lingering sensation of the soldier’s touch. Vincent tried to immerse himself in the figures, to visualise how the thoughts would become a delightfully functioning apparatus, but he kept feeling that hand on his shoulder, as if all he had to do was lean back for a nice feel of muscle and safety. He began to pace about, look out the window, and eventually picked up Raoul’s book. The drawings of scarily exposed women met him. No big surprise. He looked through a couple of pages the way a young boy would peek through the window to a women’s bath, before putting it back down.
The storm increased in strength, and the restlessness in Vincent grew accordingly, until he decided to go for a stroll on the deck. He didn’t think to bring his jacket; these mundane worries were never really on his mind.
Outside the crew was busy. Not panicking; they were used to worse, and the storm was wearing off already. One of the main problems seemed to Vincent to be the slippery floor.
The rain soaked Vincent to the bone as he walked about the deck, watching the big burly sailors do their job with a distant look. He wasn’t there to be drenched, he barely felt the water whipping against his face. His thoughts and mind were following the heartbeat of the ship, almost per default, trying to reach its core.
Soon enough he found himself in shelter. The halls echoed with heavy thuds of engines bringing the ship to life. The clicks of cogs and wheels turning and rhythmic, almost musical thuds of the steel working. He was blissful to spend a while rediscovering this quite old technology – the ship was outdated in many ways, it felt almost like returning to more innocent times. Vincent was lost in his trail of thoughts for a while.
Until he was brought from his trance by a sudden sound.
Every instinct in his body told him to flee – and so he did. He took cover behind one of the larger contraptions in the room, hoping that the shadows would hide him from whoever had just entered. He didn’t know why he hid; this was a habit of his since he was a boy. People intimidated him. When they weren’t bullies they expected others to be sociable, to converse about mundane things. To give a care about weather and wind, about taxation and governing. He had no interest in the world, nor discussing it.
Hiding was easier.
Only seconds after he had taken refuge, whispers and giggles echoed against the walls of the engine room. Fabric brushing against fabric. He curled up into a ball. Had the intruder been a man he would perhaps have reconsidered this approach to the unpleasant situation, but women had a tendency to paralyse him completely. He decided to stay in the comfort of shadows and lifeless music. There was a sound of a thud – human weight knocked lightly against a wall.
“Ow!” a young female voice exclaimed, still half choked with laughter. For some reason the voice was recognisable to him.
“Aww, did my little girl hurt herself?” teased a more mature woman, one that Vincent recognised quite well. She was the scary woman that he and Raoul were accompanying to more safe areas.
“You did! Be more careful.”
“I’d better make it up to you then, sweetness.”
A noise – one that Vincent had known for a long time due to his friendship with Raoul – of lips meeting and tongues touching. He couldn’t help but peek, just enough to get a glimpse of the women that were stood in a close, almost frantic embrace, whilst kissing and nibbling lightly at each other. The young woman, thin and tomboyish, with a head full of dark curls, fighting with the corset of the more mature and plump Katherine. In the dimly lit room he couldn’t make out who the young girl was, but he had a feeling that he knew her.
“Leave it for now,” she whispered, still calm and collect in comparison to the fierce kisses and heavy breath of the young girl. With tenderness and the eventual stroke of bare skin, she unbuttoned the young woman’s shirt. Vincent took a moment to grab onto his knees until it hurt, forcing his gaze away from the warm and moist women to a cold metallic wall. But as little as he wanted to, he couldn’t fight the urge to peek at the oblivious women once more. Raoul had often complained over the uptight society of their home-town – he needed to go to the brothels or more southern towns to find open-minded women. From these stories Vincent had gathered that certain free-spirited women would get sexually and romantically involved. However he had never seen it. And least of all had he seen it unfold before his eyes. It was baffling. Arousing and terrifying. All-together – just painful.
Whilst the young woman swept her curls out of her way to kiss and suck on the neck of Katherine, her shirt was unbuttoned to her belly button. The woman however didn’t rush to uncover skin and breasts; rather, she ran a finger from the collar bone to the stomach. The result was a delighted shudder. Katherine let her lips follow her finger closely, stopping between the breasts to trace her tongue over the skin with extra attention.
Her young lover ran her fingers over Katherine’s ginger head with closed eyes. She murmured … well, something. He couldn’t make it out over the noise of the machines.
“How’s your head?” Katherine teased her, focusing attention on her lover’s neck. Whilst kissing the one side, she caressed the earlobes and sensitive skin, stroking her face and exploring shoulders and arms, but nothing below the collarbone. The tomboyish beauty couldn’t produce much of a reply other than a half choked laughter. Either frightened of, or unable to keep her hands idle, she was grabbing onto every inch of the woman that she could get to.
“That’s what I thought.”
Vincent held his breath. He couldn’t very well leave now. And the fear for being discovered as some perverted voyeur kept him from fully enjoying what he saw – if only he could look away. But every pained, restrained gasp and damp kiss tore at his mind until he, once again, gave into his curiosity. Only to see how Katherine was stroking every inch of the woman’s young, thin body, but avoiding breasts and the inner thighs completely. It was not difficult to undress someone wrapped in such simple, manly clothes – however the young lover had a sincere struggle with the laces and layers of skirts, frantically trying to get to feel some skin, anything warm and soft against her own hands. And Katherine kept stopping her. Keeping herself concealed from the young girl. When she had the younger woman exposed and naked she pushed her down onto the cold floor. The girl hissed.
“That’s not always a bad thing, Lily.”
She lifted up her skirts to sit across the girl’s lap, she stooped down to finally plant two kisses on the small breasts. She licked the nipples with carefulness, slowly increasing in pressure until she was sucking one and massaging the other with her free hand. Lily, as her name seemed to be, had a wide grin across her face, stretching and arching her back so that it would receive even more pressure from the woman on top of her. Finally the noises came to an end, and Katherine sat up, slowly removing her corset. The girl reached to touch, to fondle, to caress and to never let go. But the woman lay on top of her, positioning herself so that their breasts would meet, and while her hands explored the girl’s side and wandered in the dark, curly hair between her thighs, she rubbed against her.
There was something so surprising by this. For one, they didn’t make the same noise that Raoul’s girls always did. There were none of the choking screams, the almost pained cries of pleasure. A slight whimper, sensual moans concealed by one another’s lips, or sometimes even from biting their own lips. The noise from the two was overpowered by the machines; they were clearly not interested in getting caught. But Lily was still writhing in pleasure while Katherine worked her way between her thighs, still rubbing against her. Vincent could only imagine the warmth of nude, sweaty skin would feel like. He wasn’t sure if he liked the idea. Then again, his painful erection kind of told him otherwise.
Then something peculiar happened. Lily seemed to have worked herself into a state of tension as she lay gasping on the floor, her hands gripping for anything to clutch onto – preferably Katherine. The ginger woman was slowly slithering down between her legs, spreading them, and lifting her slightly up against her mouth, as she seemed to – at first – kiss her way through the dark hair. But then her movements were more of a licking nature. She licked, while stroking with one hand first on the sides of the rough, warm skin, then down her thigh, and back up again. Now and then she would stop to rub her clit with her fingers, and during these times her left hand finally found its way beneath her own skirts. When she returned to licking it was now with light whimpers under her own breath.
This set Lily off. The aroused, pleasured noises from Katherine were responded to with equal, tense noises, and their pleasure escalated together.
“Get up here,” Lily requested, in between the gaps that were to hide her moans.
“I want to see you cum,” Katherine replied with a smirk, returning to her task at hand. Finally, Lily’s back arched as she seemed to squirm trying to keep herself from shouting out. Katherine took it all in, the spasms and the genuine surprise, followed by an almost limp body before her.
They lay together for a while. Curled up together, caressing each other now in a loving fashion. Lily was wrapped in the naked arms of Katherine. Her hands now just exploring casually. They were whispering things to each other that he couldn’t hear. They sounded tender, but also cut off with muffled laughter, as Lily laughed against Katherine’s shoulder, before she kissed the warm skin.
Vincent was forced to watch this, despite his most painful arousal. If he’d ever had the chance to leave it had escaped him long ago, he would prefer any corporal punishment to admitting to his voyeurism of these women. Also, he didn’t want to interrupt them. He felt almost sad at the sight of the women. He envied them their tenderness.
But it was nice to watch.
He found himself even more jealous of this aftermath than he had ever been of the noise from Raoul’s sexual acquaintances. This was different. This was sweet, and only for a moment he wished he was more like normal people.
Finally the women got dressed, returning to their duties on the ship. The rain had stopped and Vincent returned to his cabin, only to find that he had the place to himself. Obviously Raoul hadn’t returned from his meeting with the captain yet.
“Figures,” he muttered. Then he sat down on the bed in the corner to tend to his own needs. Something he had grown quite good at over the years.