TTC: The Cygnus War, Part 38

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The Tessa Chronicles: The Cygnus War #38 (Need and Regrets, Part 2) By Earl S. Wynn

When consciousness pried its way into the darkness, it dawned slow, like the sluggish deflation of a balloon. Izzy squeezed her eyes against it, tried to keep the sweet surrender of sleep from slipping away, but bit by bit she came awake, and each fragment, each grain of slumber that slipped from her grasp felt like it was seized in the pinch of tweezers and pulled piecemeal through a tiny hole in the sky of a world that was warm, dark, womblike– blissful and silent. She fought the pulling, struggled, groaned against it, finally buried her face into Tessa’s chest, finding some weak sort of solace as smooth arms tightened across her back, strong, warm, reassuring. Tessa’s smell, that clean, vanilla and rose scent, calmed her senses, beckoned her back to sleep, called to her in a sweet and silent voice as she sunk into the soft and alluring darkness again, into the warmth of her lover’s embrace. There were so many good memories that came with that scent, memories that brought a smile and a satisfied sigh, memories of lips touching, parting on moans, long, sweaty nights in t-shirts and crisp, cool sheets, all memories full of that warm, sweet smell– unmistakable, a scent that was, in every way, Tessa.

But in the end, not even that could keep back the other memories, the memories and worries that had dogged her before. Questions about her faith fought to steal her attention, struggled to fill her mind with memories of the stance she’d taken so many times in the past on genetically modified organisms. Worries about the effect it all had on her lover rose with them, intertwined themselves with other painful questions, other painful thoughts. Moments of her time under Pope Vultaggio replayed like broken movies in her mind, snippets of her own words echoing through her mind, insistent, unstoppable. Abomination. She remembered herself shouting: Man should never try to play God. God created us in his own image, but man tries to go further in his tinkering, to improve upon His grand design and creating instruments of vice instead. Demons that further greed and sloth by doing man’s work for him, demons that encourage lust and envy, demons grown in vats and programmed from their first waking moment to do nothing but kill. . .

“Izzy.” Tessa managed. “I– I can feel it. You’re thinking about your speeches on Mars again, aren’t you?”

Izzy swallowed reflexively and closed herself off, every thought vanishing instantly, giving way to cool, grey void. Tessa stirred beside her, and slowly, so slowly, Izzy pulled herself away, looking up to meet her lover’s eyes.

“It’s hard.” Came Izzy’s eventual response. Beneath sheets, her hand found one of Tessa’s, squeezed lightly. “I feel like I have to keep reminding myself that you are the same person, the same Tessa. . .” She broke the stare, looked away. “I just. . .” She hesitated, unable to put words to the feeling, then smiled a little against the pain, pulling herself against Tessa and wrapping her arms around her. The gentle kiss she planted on Tessa’s neck came reflexively, and as color washed across Izzy’s cheeks, she buried her face into the dark embrace of her lover’s long, smooth hair.

“I can’t get past my hangups.” Izzy breathed, breath tickling Tessa’s neck, triggering tears that blossomed on the edges of her lover’s cobalt eyes. Tessa couldn’t help but pull Izzy closer, arms tightening desperately across her lover’s back, needing the contact, the closeness. “I look at you now, and it hurts.” Izzy managed. “I think about everything I’ve been taught, everything I know, everything I wrote and said, all those horrible things I said about. . . about your kind.”

“My kind?” Tessa rasped, eyes squeezing against the budding tears, one hand rising to gently caress chestnut hair, the exposed skin of Izzy’s back.  “You. . . You make it sound like I’m something other than human.”

Well aren’t you? The thought opened almost of its own volition, and Izzy grimaced against it, chastised herself for even considering it. “No, I. . .”

Don’t try to hide your thoughts from me, Izzy. The thought came back like a slap, and as new tears rose to her eyes, Izzy felt her lover pull away a little, close in on herself. I know how you feel. I’m different to you, no longer human.

Tess. . . She tried, but her words fell on ears no longer willing to listen. Reflexively, she squeezed Tessa’s hand, but there was no response, no connection. Tears built at the rims of her eyes, broke and ran in tiny rivulets down the curve of her nose, gently dotting Tessa’s neck and losing themselves in the smooth lines of her long black hair.

“Please don’t do this.” She tried. “I–”

“Iz,” Tessa managed finally. “Please. Tell me how you really feel.” She hesitated, pulled in a shaky breath. “Tell me with words.”

“I– I think I should go.” Izzy pulled away, sat up, glanced back at Tessa. “I think we both need more time. More time to think.”

“Please.” Tessa reached out, grabbed the other woman’s hand. “Don’t leave. Don’t walk out on me now.”

“You mean like you did on Tarsis?” Izzy managed, stifling a shaky, broken laugh. “What was it you said? People have limits. . . Somethings shouldn’t be rushed. . .”

“Yeah,” Tessa all but whispered, her voice tainted with pain. Izzy squeezed her hand, hesitating, then stood as her lover reluctantly let her go. Silence drifted in, filled the wake of words as Izzy dressed, ran absent fingers through her hair. In another moment, she scooped up her hanging ID lanyard and slipped toward the door, triggering it open with a gentle press of a panel from one naked thumb.

“Izzy.” Tessa called out, and the other woman hesitated on the threshold of the door, hands gently gripping the frame.

“I– I love you.”

“I know.” Izzy smiled softly, then glanced back at Tess. “I still love you too, I just. . .” She hesitated, looked away again. “I guess I need time to work things out in my own head.”

“Me too.” Tessa tried to return the gentle smile, blinked against tears as it faltered. “I. . .” She hesitated. “I’ll keep the bed warm. . . until you get back.”

Izzy’s smile widened a little, opened on a faded grin as she looked away. There was nothing else to say, no response that felt appropriate to Izzy, and Tessa watched in silence as the door hushed softly closed in her wake. In the dead, cold silence that followed, she lay back down with a quiet sigh, but the tears came again almost immediately, and as they broke past her tattered resolve, she turned over and buried her face in the pillow that still smelled like Izzy, still smelled like the woman that she loved.

Dammit, Iz. God dammit.
Full title: The Tessa Chronicles: The Cygnus War #38 (Need And Regrets, Part 2)

Author Blurb: Life is funny. My class went great and I’m scheduling to teach more of them, so that’s awesome. I’ve been putting links to my stuff out all over the place and playing the adsense game too, but that can be rough on a soul. It’s hard enough to catch the fickle eye of the public without angry, asinine critics who get their jollies off leaving hateful comments all over everything. *rant* Whatever. It’s not like I’m going to stop writing or trying to get my name out there. Eventually I will overcome the idiots and rise above the septic tide to something greater.

Progress report: Just finished 41, but working on other things now. Can someone tell me why an article like “101 reasons to stay single” would attract literally thousands of page views per day while a video-intensive piece called “The 10 masters of Electronic Music” would be attacked relentlessly without more than a handful of views to show for it? Whatever.

History is full of great artists of every sort who struggled and struggled only to be forgotten because they dared to think outside of the box.

Anyway, this is the thirty-eighth installment of TTC: The Cygnus War. You can find the previous episode here: [link] The next episode will appear on Wednesday, January 28st, 2009 (PST)

1187 Words
© 2009 - 2022 Durkee341
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purpleduckling's avatar
I read it, every week as soon as I can. I just don't often feel there's anything I can say. The other about six people probably feel the same way.
I do like your writing. I like it so much I had my bookshop people ship your Pink Carbide series in just for me, all the way to Australia.