Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chapter 20.5 Searching for Comfort

Kyrene sat on his lap with her legs wrapped around his waist and her chin on his shoulder. One of her fingers trailed slowly down his spine, the short nails grazing his skin as her hand moved to the small of his back.

A large steamy cloud of heat hung over their heads rising from their bodies and the candles that lit the room. His bare skin pressed to hers, slippery still in the spots where they connected. Their breaths had slowed and he could feel hers on his shoulder. His own breath moved down her back gently shifting the stray strands of her dark hair nearest his mouth.

Alex kissed her shoulder as he ran his hand up her back and through her dark hair. Thick and heavy, the strands slid through his fingers catching the light as they fell. Another dark haired girl came to him mind, the image of her strong enough to make him feel guilty. Kyrene was a gorgeous person. One of the most beautiful people he’d known. He’d told her that the first time they lay together, but she had dismissed it. Plenty of people, men and women, said that to her.

She hadn’t understood. He ran his hand down her back stopping in the middle to press her to him. Her breath had slowed, and he was sure she was lightly dozing against him. Most likely she would be embarrassed like the last time, but he couldn’t bring himself to rouse her.

Alex closed his eyes. The memory was strong. Paula had looked up at him with her hurt and betrayal clear in her eyes.

“Do you know what this means?” She had asked him, and he had once again felt at a loss, completely aware that he was lacking in an ability to understand.

The look she had given him was similar to the one his first wife would give him from time to time. As if there were a stranger who had taken the place of the boy who had become her husband.

He had been so young, he hadn’t known until he saw the look on Paula. It shocked him to see the look again, completely bare and honest. Paula hadn’t been trying to hide the look from him. She had turned to him searching for comfort.

Who had Lalani turned to when she had needed comfort?

The thought brought along with it the memory of her standing in front of him, trying to bury her look of hurt as she smiled up at him. She often would mention how much taller than her he'd finally grown. She was the only one who'd been with him long enough to see him grow from a child, laughed at by the others, into a man who had earned the respect of the others in the tribe. Perhaps she had watched her husband grow up to become a stranger.

The muscles of his stomach contracted forcing him to suck in a breath as if he'd been hit in the gut.

It roused Kyrene. She leaned back to look him in the eye, a surprisingly shy and embarrassed smile on her face. “You, bastard. I don’t need sleep.” There was a sparkle in her eye, and then she leaned forward, her mouth on his neck gently nipping and kissing. She ran her tongue along the spot before gently sucking on it.

He tipped her over, a smile spreading across his lips at the sound of her laugh. She reached her arms up and pulled him down on top of her, kissing him fiercely as she slid a heel up the back of his leg, pressing him to her.

Together they would forget time, forget worries, forget the outside world. There was nothing and no one else but each other and the touch of his skin to her skin.

It wasn’t love, not like the way he’d felt for Lalani. But it wasn’t something he would dismiss. It was respect, a mutual respect and camaraderie from similar experiences, a shared past, and shared heritage.

She moaned, her lips searching him out even as she pulled him closer. They were locked together, tied together, more than just physically. But not enough. His heart was elsewhere, and even if he thought he could forget, it never actually went away.

Next Chapter -->


*Ahem* Not to completely distract, but I added Ten Facts to Jimmy's profile page because they're fun to do.

Also, because we didn't actually see her face in this chapter and I love her to pieces, a profile on Kyrene. (Also, as a P.S., here we actually see Alex's fourth partner. Referring back to his ten facts of course.)

Edit to add that there's a new piece up on how I got these shots over here.


  1. Well for starters, I don't know *how* she manages to fall asleep on top of that fine piece! lol!

    Very nice pictures! Especially the last one. I've always had a thing for a man's shoulders and back, and well, tattooed ones are even better. *picks up tongue*

    Carrying on... ;)

    There's just something very tender to him, isn't there? Something almost suave, though I'm sure he doesn't mean it intentionally. He kisses her shoulder. It isn't just any ordinary brute who does that to a woman. In fact, I'd almost say he seems to fall for them quite easily, lol!

    Kyrene (having read her profile) seems like an interesting character. I wonder about the process of taking a wife though. I'm assuming he and Kyrene are just "dating" if you want to call it that, because it sounds like he's telling us they haven't bonded in that way. Does that mean he had bonded with all of his previous wives? Or just the first? Are these simultaneous wives? Or in succession? I think I asked this before, but where are they all now?

    Oh, all the questions, lol!

  2. LOL! I think that's an interesting sign of how comfortable she is with him. I doubt that's normal behavior for her.

    Thank you! These were the test shots. It was just a spur of the moment thing for fun, but with that one picture of Paula looking up at him, and then these test shots, another half chapter was born.

    There is something tender to him and honest about him. The tribe he comes from is very base, much more like cavemen, and somehow Alex isn't like that.

    The process of taking a wife in Alex's tribe and the process of bonding in the Southlands are actually two separate things. In the Southlands, it's more like a normal marriage.

    In Alex's tribe, it's very rarely consensual. Jimmy explains it pretty much in his chapter-- they wait for the child to be born and there's the sign of their relationship.

    I guess you can call what Alex and Kyrene're doing dating, lol. Not exclusively though. I think the rest of the answers are there, so I hope it's not too confusing. But we'll get back to all of these things anyway.

  3. fa;ldkfjadsfajds;asjfa

    That is all.

    I'm always amazed at how tender Alex is. He's just...hard to wrap my mind around, I guess.

    The pictures. THE PICTURES. They're amazing and I'd love to know your secrets. They make me want to step my posing game up. :P

  4. An amazing little insight into Alex and the world he has grown up in. But, of course, for every question it answers there are a thousand more waiting to take its place.

    His first wife, he speaks of her in past tense. It could, of course, mean that they are no longer together but I get the impression it is more than that, that she is no longer living. I also got the impression she was much older than him, Alex being still a child when they had been paired off. Of course, I could be completely wrong *lol*

    Yet again we get a hint of some connection between Alex and Paula. Is it just because she reminds him of Lalani or is it something more, something deeper, something he had experienced before but didn't recognise it until it happened again?

    Sorry, all I'm doing is asking questions, but this is how my brain is working this morning.

    Put simply - I loved it, all of it, the words, the emotions, the illustrations. Man, I wish I had the patience and the knowledge to create screenshots like yours. Not that your words need any help to tell the story, but the pictures just seem so comfortable alongside the words that it is hard to imagine reading this without them.

    Did that make sense?

  5. Nicole, LOL! Yeah, I love Alex. When I started writing him, and pinning his character down, I was very surprised. Very surprised. He is a very hard character to grasp, even for me. Tender and innocent in a way, and at the same time he does the same as everyone else.

    Thank you! These were actually done for fun. I just got the idea and tested it out. I'll probably post up something in my Sims blog about the how and the other test shots that weren't used.

    Illandrya, how in the world do you do that? Like seriously, WOW!

    You are completely right. She was older than him by a significant amount of years. It was a very unusual pairing, but as you can tell (I hope), he did care very much for her. Another part of the reason (referring back to the ten facts) that he was laughed at for taking on a bit more than they thought he could handle. But he did prove them wrong.

    Now that, I can't answer. Not for fear of spoilers, but because I actually don't know. I find this very new and quick bond between him and Paula interesting. It's always been there in the writings, and only recently offered itself in any form that might make sense.

    Aw, thank you! I'm actually very impatient, so it was very much a "let's see if we can do it," lol. Just play, probably an hour out of the day and some strange camera angles.

  6. Very nice pics indeed.

    And an intriguing little insight as well, especially that last line, it suggests he does have genuine feelings for Paula.

    I noticed that Brandon is absent from the list of people on Kyrene's page. Have those two been getting up to shenanigans?...

  7. The boy is becoming human.

    Stunning and sad, and beautiful shots, and maybe those green tiger eyes do work after all.

  8. Poida, I forgot to re-link to Brandon's profile. Specifically, this last picture. That's actually Kyrene right there.

    So yes, plenty of shenanigans. Plenty

    SB, thank you. I do feel bad for Alex. I think he's a good guy, but he's also not always aware of things. I think part of growing up is becoming aware, and I think here we're actually seeing him growing up a bit.

    Thank you.

  9. Like Laura, I thought that picture of Alex's back was amazing. I'm admiring your mad posing skillz and perving on Alex at the same time. LOL!

    Do you know what a bombshell it was for me to read "his first wife"? WOW again! It definitely offers a little bit of insight as to how he's bonded so quickly with Paula.

    You've got me curious about the second wife (and perhaps third and fourth? The facts just said he'd slept with four women, not that he'd married all of them). What happened to her (or them)? It doesn't seem like they meant as much to him as Lalani. He's still searching for what he had with her, unsuccessfully. So terribly sad!

  10. lol, that's cool with me. At least I'm not being a perv alone. Is there a term for a group of pervs? Do we get a club card?

    Haha, yeah it should be a surprise! I think Laura's right, he probably does have a tendency to fall easily. But so far, there's only one person he's really fallen for and that was the one he was thinking about here.

    As for the other wives, just three (fact four is the one that actually mentions the three wives). Kyrene is now his fourth partner, not to be confused with a wife. She was very clear with him upfront on that just in case.

    Lalani is definitely the stand out. We'll definitely get to that again.

  11. Whew...I had to go and read the other profiles and comment on them just to gather my thoughts after this chapter.

    First off, as usual the shots are beautifully done--there's nothing obscene about what's going on here, or what we see. It's intimate and sensual and extremely compelling.

    I wonder if he would make her a fourth wife if he could? He seems to be quite taken with Kyrene, and he doesn't seem to be someone who enters into sexual relationships lightly (he certainly doesn't seem to have the same attitude toward sex as Kyrene or Brandon, for instance). He is thinking of Paula and Lalani while he's with her, and feels guilty for it, and that's pretty amazing.

    I'm just as curious as the others here about the bond he shares with Paula. I feel like someone has mentioned this before in earlier chapters with them, but is it because they are each new to the Southlands? Alex's tribe doesn't work the same way as the warriors in the Southlands, and Paula's Neutral background is very different from what she is faced with in her father's land. Maybe they bond because they are both experiencing a bit of culture shock?

    Then again...if Paula reminds him of Lalani--I wonder if it is that Lalani found herself in a situation she had little choice in (maybe her bonding with Alex?) and Alex recognizes that Paula is going through a similar experience? Maybe he sees that and has a soft spot for her because of that?

    Geez, this comment is a book. It's all just so freaking awesome that I can't shut up about it!

  12. Wow, Rachel! What an amazing and awesome comment. I have to admit I was a little hesitant to post this half chapter, but it was another one of those times the gut said, "DO IT!" (She's a little pushy.)

    It's true that Alex doesn't enter into sexual relationships lightly, but I think he's aware of Kyrene's views on sex. I also think she was very upfront with him so that he wouldn't get any ideas. So I actually get an idea that this is something that's unusual for him

    omg, you're another one that picks up the subconscious clues I toss out. I can't remember this being brought up in the comments before, but it is highly possible that they're simply bonding over a shared awkwardness being in a new place.

    As for Lalani, between your guesses and Illandrya's guesses, you two are sussing out the back story, lol. Most people are in situations they have little choice in, and Lalani's not an exception. She was older than him, and he was not the partner she would have picked.

    Frankly, I love Alex and Lalani's story, and I'm still working on sussing out more on it. We'll come back to it again.

  13. You had me at first wife!

    Hard to imagine Alex was once married and I feel a little sad for Lalani. But her story is so true of many marriages. It's comforting to know despite their abilities, they aren't exempt from human mistakes. Makes them that much more human.

  14. I just wanted to say that I am really enjoying reading your stories maybe it's because I enjoy reading dystopias.

    I going to have a look at the profile pages now.

    See ya

  15. Carnaxa, they are definitely human. Very much human in so many ways.

    Alex is a character I find hard to imagine all around, lol. He's a very fun character though.

    Pandora Moon, first off, I love your name. Second, thank you. I enjoy reading about dystopias too. They're fun to imagine and explore. A lot of texture to them.

  16. I am having a hard time imagining Alex with an older woman and wonder what that bond really was. Then I wonder even more strongly whether or not he has really experienced love as opposed to comfort and deep friendship and caring.

    Knowing that there is no bond per se with Alex and Kylene or maybe the better word is commitment, I have to wonder what it is he gets from her (apart from mind blowing sex). Although if he is thinking about Paula while he is with her...doesn't take a rocket scientist to put that together.

    Gorgeous pictures and I love the angles and lighting.

  17. Insightful as always, Gayl. I think you've discovered another element to the back story with Lalani.

    I will say that Kyrene is actually older than Alex, if that makes a difference. He's probably 19 or so and she's about 25 here. As for what he gets (other than sex), I have a couple of theories. One is along the lines of your observation of his experience with comfort, deep friendship, and caring.

    I think Alex is very much a man out of place, but in more ways than just physically/location.

    Thank you!

  18. Well, you KNOW, I just had to come to this chapter. Gaaaaaaaa....

    Ok, Alex is now THE sexy beast of Ruin, (and a tender and giving one at that) wonderful work Lunar. I take my romance hat off to you.
    And Paula drifts into his thoughts? Very telling.
    And your shots and the process you went through was fascinating!
    High five for the sizzling update!

  19. Drew, haha, thank you. Coming from you that means a lot. I'll admit I was nervous with this story bit, but it had to be posted. Alex is very tender and giving, and I think that's one important aspect to his character.

    *receives high five* XD