DISCLAIMER: Los Hombres De Paco and its characters are the property of Antena 3. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"You will like the sea there," Pepa said, as the country rushed by outside the train windows. "It is very beautiful, around Sevilla."
"Beautiful and incomprehensible," Silvia muttered. "If everyone talks like you, I won't be able to understand anything they say."
Pepa pretended to be insulted. "Why would you need to talk to anyone else, anyway? You have me. And we don't have to do any talking, if you'd prefer. We can just look at the water and have sex."
She licked her lips exaggeratedly, and Silvia forced herself not to look around to see whether anyone else was watching them. "Actually, I think that sounds like a good plan anyway. Don't you?"
Silvia fiddled with the basket of food Lola had sent with them and tried not to blush, unsuccessfully.
"I feel freer here, I think," Silvia said tentatively, pulling a tangle of hair through the fingers of her free hand.
Pepa smiled, looking at the water. "Yes. The sea can have that effect on people, I have noticed."
I'll bet you have, Silvia thought uncharitably, and immediately annoyed herself for it. Thoughts of Pepa's other women - how many had there been? How much had she loved them? Were they more beautiful? - always seemed to come to mind at the most inconvenient times.
She shook her head. "No, I mean that I feel freer - away from them. My family." She might have felt a little guilty about it, almost.
Pepa managed to soften her sharp glance so quickly that Silvia almost missed the flash of hard edge. "Do you feel freer, Silvia, or do you feel freer to be with me?"
She was a little stung, and a little unsure. "I don't know. I don't - maybe there's not much difference anymore."
Pepa's unexpected smile was thrillingly broad. "You don't have to choose, Silvia. You just be who you are, and let them take care of their own problems. It's not your job to fix them."
"I know," said Silvia, in what she hoped was a confident voice, thinking that she didn't, not really. But when she looked up to see the older woman, sunbathing, staring at them with something that might have been disapproval, she did not find an excuse to drop Pepa's hand.
Pepa was warm and soft in her arms, and as she leaned in to kiss her, Silvia closed her eyes and luxuriated in the feel of everything: the sand under her feet, the warming sun on her back, the solidness of Pepa's body before her, the intoxicating curve of Pepa's lower back under her palm, the smoothness of Pepa's hair in her fingers.
When Pepa's lips opened to hers, it felt like coming home. And also like leaving it, fluttery and a little frightening but right, good, perfect, Silvia thought and was almost afraid to think. Pepa breathed against her mouth and Silvia felt her heart rise in her chest.
There was a small splash on her forehead. Silvia opened her eyes to find the left side of Pepa's head covered in something warm and dripping, and leaned back in time to watch Pepa's expression shift from curiosity to nascent awareness to pure revulsion.
"Shit," Pepa hissed, holding a hand over her mouth. "Shit!"
"Well, yes," Silvia said, and looked up in time to watch the culpable bird winging its way in the direction of Doñana, as Pepa loped to the water and ducked her hair.
"Pepa!" she called, but Pepa couldn't hear her, her entire head submerged in seawater as she scrubbed furiously at the mess.
Silvia followed her down to the water. "Pepa, you should be honored!" she called. "It was a marbled tern! They're endangered, you know."
Pepa squinted up at her disbelievingly, but Silvia's voice was so earnest, so genuinely excited, she suddenly couldn't stop laughing, water dripping from her now-clean hair and streaming down her face. "You are really something else, redhead. You know that?"
Silvia smiled, a little embarrassed. Pepa flung her hair around, catching Silvia with hundreds of droplets that glittered briefly in the light, and dropped an arm around Silvia's shoulders. "I hope they all go extinct."
"Let's see what Lola sent with us, then," said Silvia, laughing. "I would hate for such a delicate flower to wilt of hunger."
"Fuck you," Pepa said cheerfully, her hair almost dry by now in the sun, and opened the large package of food. Lola had provisioned them well: a wedge of Manchego, a cold marinated salad of tomato, zucchini, sweet pepper and onion, a small loaf of crusty bread, another marinade of mushrooms, and no fewer than three bottles of robust-looking wine.
"I was wondering why it was so heavy." Silvia looked faintly alarmed. "That's...a lot of wine."
"I asked her for extra," Pepa said breezily, "so it will be easier for me to take advantage of you." She lifted an eyebrow suggestively.
Silvia laughed, embarrassed, and found that she had lost the nerve to say: why would you need to? I'm yours.
After lunch, sated on Lola's generosity, they sat drowsily in the sand, close enough to feel each other's skin prickling, but not quite touching. The sky was a smoky blue, with wisps and puffs of cloud enlivened by the bright, darting fancies of children's kites dancing on the breeze. The sun was warm on their backs, and gulls wheeled lazily overhead.
Pepa dropped back on her elbows, working the dry sand between her toes. The water sparkled in the sun, millions of small mirrors reflecting its light back at her. Silvia breathed beside her and seemed happy, and Pepa was dazzled by the loveliness of things.
"Pepa?" Silvia's voice was rich and languid, and it shot shivers of desire down Pepa's spine.
"This is a wonderful day."
You really think so? Pepa wanted to ask, delighted beyond measure, but when she turned to look at Silvia she was still blinded by the water, and Silvia appeared as a flame of radiant hair around an incandescent face, so brilliant its features were altogether obscured in the transfixing brightness.
Pepa moved her hand toward Silvia's, to reassure herself that it was really Silvia and not some other creature so startlingly luminous beside her on the sand. Warm fingers twined around hers and squeezed, and Pepa caught her breath as Silvia's face resolved in the sun. The spark held in her eyes, gleaming, and "Yes," Pepa whispered, barely able to speak. "Yes."
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