The morning after on the final day in Obrary.
Chapter 23. The Last Day Together
Erin awoke in a soft bed. She felt a warm body wrapped around her. It was the morning after and Erin felt slightly sore. Skereth was sleeping soundly next to her. Normally she seemed so big and intimidating, maybe intimidating was the wrong word, but she definitely made Erin feel short.
Now she was sleeping with her arms loosely wrapped around Erin, Skereth seemed smaller. Her beautiful dark hair rippled over her darker olive tone skin. Erin looked at the sleeve of tattoos on her right arm, they were all so Skereth, Erin thought. There was a vine that wrapped around her upper arm and up around her shoulder.
Skereth moved a little and mumbled, "Good morning, Green eyes."
"Good morning," Erin replied softly, "sleep well?"
"Yeah, royal beds are so soft. Plus you're boobs are comfortable to sleep on." Skereth moved her head from the pillow and nestled her head on Erin's chest.
"You all right there?"
"Yep, these are my new favourite thing." She gave one a kiss before settling down again.
"You're ridiculous." Erin laughed.
The two women settled into a peaceful silence. Erin absentmindedly played with Skereth's hair thinking about how nice this moment was. She hated that she had to leave for Zopru the following day. The last month she'd spent with Skereth had been fantastic. But now she would have to leave and continue on her quest, even if it was different to the one she'd started all those weeks ago.
"What you thinking about?" Skereth asked, her voice slightly muffled by Erin's body.
"About the fact I have to leave tomorrow."
Skereth moved up to rest her head on the pillow next to Erin's, "Don't do that."
"I'll try not to. I don't want to leave, Skereth."
"Then don't. Stay."
Erin sighed, "I have to go with Vechs, he's going to need friends when he does what he has to do."
"He'd have Chad," Skereth suggested hopefully.
"I think he'll need me, too. I have this feeling that he will."
"What if I came, too?"
Erin shook her head, "It might be dangerous."
"I am one-hundred and forty, I can look after myself, Miss Erin Wicken." Skereth said grumpily.
"God, you're so old." Skereth gave her a little push, "Anyway, I know you can look after yourself. But I'd hate for anything to happen to you. I would rather you stayed in Obrary."
"You can't stop me coming with you." Skereth said defiantly.
"Skereth. Please, stay here. What if something bad happens and we need rescuing? If you're with us who will be able to save us?"
"So you want me to stay here so I can be back up if things go to shit?" Skereth asked.
Erin nodded, "Yes. Think about it. You would be so much more useful if you stayed home."
"Fine, but only because you're insisting. I'm not going to be happy about it."
Erin kissed Skereth softly, "Thank you for understanding."
They settled back into silence and at some point they started kissing again. There was a different passion this time. Likely because they both knew it would be the last time for a long time. Perhaps Skereth hoped to convince Erin to stay. Whatever the reason, Erin didn't want to think too much. Just enjoy her last day with Skereth.
There was no denying it, Erin knew she was falling for Skereth. She realised that they hadn't officially become official. Right now they were just being very intimate and spending lots of time together; basically everything you did in a relationship, except they technically weren't in one.
Erin recalled it being mentioned that Skereth had commitment issues, which had stopped Erin from saying anything for fear of scaring Skereth.
They fell back into the soft pillows and stared up at the ceiling. Perhaps now was as good of a time as any to say something to Skereth. She was leaving tomorrow and likely wouldn't see her for weeks. What if Skereth moved on and found someone else. Or what if she just had lots of one night stands. Erin felt sick at the idea of Skereth being with anyone else.
There'd be nothing to prevent her, though. Skereth was a grown woman and they weren't technically in a relationship. They hadn't agreed to be exclusive. For all Erin knew Skereth was sleeping with ten other women.
"Your face has done that 'I'm really worried about something' thing, are you okay?" Skereth asked, propping herself up on her elbow to face Erin.
Erin sat up and sighed, "Are you seeing anyone else?"
Skereth blinked, "We hadn't agreed to be exclusive-"
"I know, but are you seeing anyone else?"
"No, I'm not. For the past few years I've had…arrangements like ours with several women, sometimes at the same time. But right now you're the only woman I've had any real interest in," she paused, "is that the right answer?"
"Arrangements? What is this to you? Friends with benefits?"
Skereth looked hurt, "Why would that be such a bad thing? We're friends and we've been fooling aroun-"
"Fooling around? Is that what I am to you? Someone to fool around with?"
She shook her head hurriedly, "No, I hadn't finished. We've been fooling around and now had sex, twice. You know I don't do commitment very well. I just, I'm not ready to give what we have a label."
"So you'll have sex with me in your ex's home but you won't even consider calling me your girlfriend?"
"When you say it like that it sounds terrible!"
"Well, yeah! Look, I thought I meant something to you, Skereth." Erin stood up and started to gather her undergarments, suddenly very aware of the fact she was naked.
"You do mean something to me, Erin. You mean so much to me!"
"Then why do you have such a problem with the idea of being exclusive?"
"Because I'm scared of fucking up!"
Erin turned around to look at Skereth.
"I don't want to fuck this up." Skereth said, quieter this time, "Every time I've become exclusive with a girl I've fucked it up. I always do. I'm just not very good at being someone's girlfriend."
"We could make it work, though." Erin said, walking back to the bed, "It doesn't have to end with you 'fucking it up'."
"But it always does. Why would this be any different?"
Erin looked Skereth in the eye, "Because I wouldn't let you. I would make sure this works. I care about you, Skereth. I care about you a lot and if you're too scared to try and make something of that then I can't see a future with you in it." Erin pulled on the dressing gown that hung on the door to the en suite, not wanting to mess around with the dress, "Which room are Chad and Sevadus in?" She asked.
"Turn left down the hall and it’s the third door on your right." Skereth said dejectedly.
Erin left the room and walked down the corridor. She knocked on the door Skereth had pointed her to and waited. She hoped they'd be awake.
Chad opened the door, he still had bed fur. His sleepy face became worried when he saw Erin, "Oh no, what's happened? Are the nightmares back?"
She shook her head, "No, this is a different sort of nightmare and it's in real life."
"Come on, inside." Chad put an arm around her and led her inside.
On the bed was someone Erin could only assume was Sevadus because it certainly didn't look like him. Sevadus had shapeshifted into a pale brown felin.
"Oh no, what's wrong, Erin?" Sevadus jumped out of the bed and rushed over.
"Skereth." She muttered.
"Ooo, girl trouble." Chad lead her to the sofa in the corner of the room and sat her down, "Okay, what did Skereth do?"
Erin started to cry, she was surprised she'd kept it in so long, she normally cried when she argued. She explained how they'd argued about the fact Skereth didn't want to commit.
"I don't know why I got so angry at her, we haven't been dating for long at all! I just got upset because she was acting like what we were was meaningless to her."
Sevadus had apparently made tea because he handed her a cup. She sipped it and smiled gratefully at Sevadus, "You should go back and speak to her now you've calmed down a bit." He suggested.
"Yeah, yeah okay." She stood up, "I'll be back in a bit, hopefully with good news."
Chad gave Erin a hug, "It'll be okay." Erin just nodded and walked out of the room, back to her own.
She pushed open the door to find Skereth sitting in the bed where she'd left her. Her face was buried in a pillow, but she looked up when Erin walked in. Skereth's eyes were red from crying.
"You came back," There was so much emotion in those words that Erin quickly set down the tea cup and ran over to Skereth. She pulled her close and the two women just cried into each other's arms.
"I'm sorry for losing my temper, but you can be a nightmare sometimes." Erin said gently.
"And I'm sorry for being a nightmare."
"We should talk," Erin said, "but like two mature adults this time."
And so they did. Skereth told Erin how her past relationships ended, trying to explain why she had such an issue with commitment and Erin explained how she'd been cheated on by too many guys that she had a fear of losing the people she cared about.
"How about we don't agree to be exclusive yet, it is early days, after all. Plus I have to go away tomorrow. I won't get mad if you do decide to date someone while I'm away because right now we're just testing the waters. How does that sound?"
"Like a plan that doesn't scare me." Skereth said, "And the same applies to you."
Erin laughed, "I am not really the type to play the field."
"I have never heard that expression in my life but I'm assuming playing the field is what I do." Skereth said with a grin.
"In short, yes." Erin kissed Skereth softly, "We won't be exclusive yet, not until we're both ready."
"Okay," Skereth returned the kiss, "Thank you for being understanding.""I care about you, of course I'll try to understand." Skereth smiled into Erin's lips and kissed her again.