What Lies Beyond: Chapter 25

“It's such a beautiful night”, Lay mused distractedly. She gazed up at the heavens and tried to take in all that she saw. To her, the starry sky told of romance, not of navigation, but s she was doing her best. She tried to look for the patterns that Corsair had told her about, but it was no use. All she could think about was that she wished she was not alone. It seemed like such a waste, to look upon such beauty and have no one to share it with. Once again, she wondered if they were doing the right thing. As she gazed out over the ocean, she couldn't help but sympathize with him. Placing a paw on her chest, she closed her eyes and solemnly offered her support to the endless night: “From one longing heart to another, let us both find what we seek”. Knowing there was nothing more for her out there, she left the deck and returned to her cabin.

She pulled something out of her desk and laid down on her bed. “From one lonely heart to another...” she wrote, repeating the passage to herself a few times. It was a little romantic, but it didn't tug at her heart the way true poetry did. She leafed through the pages of her little book, reading aloud some of the entries she had collected: “I long to be with you again, to feel the tenderness of your touch and the warmth of your breath as your heart beats next to mine.”
“You are the sun and the stars, the earth and the sky, the land and the sea. From the moment we met, I knew my days would all begin and end with you.”
“I wish I could find the words to tell you how I feel, but no matter what I say, it's never enough. But it's all right - I need only look into your eyes to see that we understand each other.” She felt a warm, fuzzy feeling inside as she read the words, but it quickly turned to melancholy when her thoughts returned to her own life. “Someday” she sighed wistfully, and closed the book.

She thought she heard a noise. Her ears perked up, and she listened intently, but there was nothing. Then, a moment later, it was there again, a quiet tapping on her door. “My Queen?” a voice called softly. She quickly stashed the book under her mattress and hurried to answer it.
As she opened the door, Petal was standing there, his right paw held up. He seemed a bit startled to see her, and he quickly folded his paws across his chest as if it hadn't been him who knocked.
“My Queen! I... ah... well-”
“Did anyone see you come here?” She asked quickly, interrupting him.
“I... err... no-”
“Good.” She quickly pulled him inside and closed the door behind him.

“I'm sorry,” he said, calming down a little now that they were inside, “It's just you hadn't come by in a while, and I was worried...”
Lay took a seat on her bed. “You didn't need to worry, I've just been a bit busy, that's all.”
“I've also... longed to see you” he said, sheepishly.
“I know.” She said, realizing that she too longed for some companionship. “You're not hard to read.”
“Well, I...” he started again.
Lay laid back on her bed. “Are you going to come over here, or are you going to make me wait all night?” She beckoned to him, and he complied loyally, as he always did.

After they had finished and cuddled for a while, she gently prodded him back to his senses. “It's getting late,” she whispered, “you should get back.”
He caressed her cheek with his paw. “Surely there is time enough for us to be together one more time before the sun rises.” he said playfully, lifting himself above her.
“I fear not”, she sat up and pushed him away gently. “I won't make you wait so long next time.”
“Yes, my Queen”, he said, crestfallen, as he sadly walked towards towards the door.
Her heart sank into her stomach as she watched him go. His paw was on the door before she couldn't take it any more. “You'd better be fast”, she sighed.
Sure enough, he was back to professing his love and smothering her with kisses before she had even finished speaking.
“I am too soft”, she thought as he got on top of her again, but any such thoughts of regret were quickly forgotten amid the gentle passion that she liked so much. Unfortunately, she couldn't bear to throw him out the next time, either, and they were still at it when the sun rose, her arms wrapped tightly around the man she could never refuse.


The morning began just as the night had ended, and for a moment Lay thought she had simply lost track of time as she laid there with him, but the feeling of her new partner's skin on the palms of her hands told her otherwise. She opened her eyes to see the face of her lover: he had medium length golden hair, a slender build, and a smooth, unblemished face reddened with exertion. She could not see his eyes, they remained tightly closed as he passionately attended her in much the same manner as Petal had. She tilted her head back and squeezed him, letting the sensation take her. It did not last long, after he finished she caught her first glimpse of his big blue eyes, which gazed at her lovingly. She kissed him intensely, and was about to try to talk him into another round when he spoke to her:
“I suppose you'll have to be going now”, he remarked sadly, caressing her shoulder.
“I suppose so.” she agreed, a bit surprised. She stood up and began dressing herself.
“You shouldn't keep him waiting”, the man said, leaning back on the bed. She chuckled under her breath as she put on her shirt. He was very handsome, and looking at him like that made her want to stay. She lent over to kiss him again. “Farewell, my sweet”, he said as she left through the door.

It was a warm and sunny day out. Lay took a deep breath of the fresh morning air, enjoying it all. “Keep him waiting?”, she smiled to herself. “There's another man waiting to me? I just hope he's as cute as the last one.” She sighed happily. “Ah, this is the kind of morning I've needed for a long time...”
She couldn't help herself from skipping along the path as she approached the only other house in sight.

She opened the door to the bedroom to find him lying there, asleep on his back. He had short brown hair and a plain face, not as cute as the other one, but it would suffice. She quietly removed her clothes and crawled over him...
“I know where you've been”, he said, clearly not asleep after all.
“Was it a secret?” she asked, genuinely surprised.
“I almost wish it was” he said, irritably. “You know how I feel about it when you sleep with other guys.”
“Well, don't worry”, she looked at him seductively, stroking his face, “there's still plenty left for you.”
“I'm not in the mood”, he said, gently pushing her away.
“Give me ten seconds and you will be...” She smirked at him and lowered her head.
“No.” he insisted, pulling the blanket back over himself, “We need to talk.”
“Why not?” Lay asked, disappointed.
“Because that's what you do with everyone.”
“What's wrong with that?”
“I want what we have to be special”, he said, slowly. “I don't mind you spending time with other people, but I only want you to be intimate with me. Is that so much to ask?”
“That's just how I am”, she shrugged. “When I meet new people, that's what they want from me, and I love giving it to them. There's nothing wrong with that.”
“But you know how much that hurts me” the stranger pleaded, pathetically. “I've been very patient with you, but it can't go on like this, it'll tear us apart. I'm asking you to do this for us.” he said, clasping her hand in his.
She scowled at him. “Funny how I'm the one who has to change for 'us'. What sacrifice do you plan to make for me, huh? I have enough problems to deal with as it is, I don't need someone who looks at me and wishes I was someone different. If you aren't happy with what we have then maybe you should just find someone else. Don't try to change me, because I won't change.”

“So that's it, then?” he said, choked up, “you're going to give up everything that we have because you can't go five hours without getting it from a different guy?” His voice was hoarse, full of pain and anger, but his words were clear enough. “Is your uncontrollable sex drive the only thing that matters to you, you selfish whore?!”
She slapped him so hard that her hand stung, and she had to clasp her arm to prevent her from hitting him again. “Fuck you”, she spat. “You don't deserve me.”
“I deserve much better” she heard him say, but the moment she stepped off the bed her leg plunged into frigid water. The bed and its loathsome inhabitant were gone, in their place was a world of chills and pain. She forced her head above water and flailed about frantically for the rope ladder as the water in her eyes was blinding her.

Thankfully, her paws struck something hard and she found the ladder. Grasping it tightly with one paw, she wiped the water from her eyes and began to climb up. She thought she saw Sonnet at the top of the ladder, but if he had been there the look she gave him must have been horrible enough for him to run for cover, as the deck was empty when she got there. She dried herself off hastily and sulked back to her cabin, too angry and upset to care about the ridiculous mess her fur must have been.

She opened the door to her cabin to find Petal lying on her bed, waiting for her. His eyes widened as she walked in. “What's wrong, my queen?” he asked, sweetly. In what seemed like an instant, he had his arms wrapped around her, not caring about how damp she was or how she looked. He leaned forward to kiss her-
“Out.” She said coldly, pointing towards the door. He seemed startled, but he left without saying another word.
She flopped down on her bed and buried her face in her pillow, and immediately regretted sending him away. She reached under her mattress for her little book, but its words only made the pain worse.

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