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Truth was floating.
Or at least, that was how it seemed.
Verité hung suspended in the air, the silk wrapped sensuously about the cradle of her thighs, tugging upwards with the familiar strain against her armpits. She shifted suddenly, for one perilous moment hovering only by the strong grip of her thighs, trusting to the tenacity of the cloth, until she hung upside down. The long double strand of vibrant silk was wrapped now just above her ankles, not knotted, but wrapped with a precise knowledge of exactly how much weight it could hold at exactly what angle before it would start to slide. She stretched luxuriously, letting her arms fall heavy past her head. This was freedom.
She wasn’t supposed to be in here alone, certainly wasn’t supposed to be setting up her equipment and practicing without a spotter, but she’d felt the need for that freedom. She couldn’t create, couldn’t dream, with someone there watching her; it was like giving birth with an audience. But for now, she wasn’t trying to create, wasn’t trying to choreograph a new routine. She had some ideas, of course, based on the overall theme of the story, but until she had heard more of the music, she wasn’t going to explore the half-formed thoughts twining gracefully through the silk that threaded her mind.
No, tonight she just needed to breathe.
The comfortable ache began to settle into her hips, stretched with the weight of keeping her suspended twenty feet above the firm mats covering the floor. The mats wouldn’t keep her from breaking anything if she fell, not from this height, but they might stop some of the bleeding. At the very least, they would protect the stage floor.
She reached for the silk that emerged from the wrap at her ankles and brought it to her face, breathing in the clean, slightly sweaty smell of the cloth. She could feel a slight burn on her thighs and knew that she should have put on leggings underneath her brief practice leotard, but she had wanted to feel the fabric against her skin. That skin wasn’t soft, no, not after so many years of calluses and abrasions, but the silk was a whisper in the dark, a caress against the most delicate parts of her. She took another deep breath, the smell of the silk filling her lungs.
The colors changed sometimes, but the smell did not. Sometimes, it was a flame-pitched red, a slash of blood against the flesh colored costume and shadowed lighting, and she was burning. Sometimes, it was a splash of blue, a soothing river flowing down amidst shifting patterns and colors, and she was drowning. And sometimes, like now, it was a deep green, a vibrant green, the color of old jungles and fresh life, and she was breathing. The colors were always vivid, always bright, and she was nearly always in something so sheer, so close to the alabaster shade of the skin that rarely saw sunlight, that she almost seemed nude within the brilliant spill of cloth. There were times when it even felt that way, when the whisper of silk against her thin costume brought with it the sensation of whispers against her skin itself.
Which was why she’d put no leggings on tonight; she needed those whispers, that soft edge that enhanced- rather than broke- the silence.
She really should have had a spotter here, to double check that the rigging was as it should be, but Verité firmly believed that no artist should trust equipment that they did not know how to set up. Trust in others was essential, but so were your own eyes; you needed to be able to see immediately if something, anything, was out of place. So she had rigged the equipment herself, triple testing every pulley, every knot, every wire, until she knew that falling would be the closest thing to heaven she could feel, with no fear that the drop could not be halted, could not be contained. She could fall freely with perfect control, a contradiction that suited her entire life.
Verité knew, in a vague sort of way that she was striking. Striking in the way a diamond against a bed of black velvet was striking, or a flash of lightning against the night was striking. Her skin was too pale in natural lighting, but with the smooth mask of make-up and the reflection of pulsating lights, you couldn’t see the delicate blue veins that pulsed sedately under the translucent skin, couldn’t see the blood tracing its path through eyelids so thin they seemed bruised. Her eyes were often the only color at all in her face, large and wide and distrusting, the same vibrant and brilliant green as the silk smoothing against her skin. She was a study in contrasts, physically as well as mentally. Pure color against the pure lack, set off by a spill of black curls that tumbled just past her shoulders when down. She could already feel her hair fighting against the pins and knew that she would have to be ever so slightly more careful once it fell, make sure it didn’t get tangled in the silk.
They were her father’s eyes, her mother’s hair. Her father’s cheekbones, her mother’s mouth. Her father’s height and her mother’s slenderness. All the traits of the maternal izle parents she couldn’t remember. They’d died in an auto accident when she was only two, and over the years, their faces had faded to a vague recital of features from photographs whose edges were crumbling with love and tears. She’d been sent to live with an eccentric aunt who shaved her head and referred to everyone and everything in the masculine.
But, Tante Bernadette had woven magic with her fingers, creating a net so fine as to entrance a little girl who dreamed of flying: she worked as a costumer for Cirque de Soleil. Verité had grown up in the circus, learned its secrets with every breath she took. She learned to read and write, and all her basic skills, but her dreams never shifted away from that indescribable feeling of flight. As soon as she was old enough to tuck herself into a tight ball and stay that way, she’d become part of the games, of the warm ups, the ball they tossed around to prepare for the greater concentration of their pieces. They would none of them hurt a child, and so they took tremendous care never to drop her. It happened, of course, as such things inevitably will, and from that she learned to tolerate the pain that training always provided.
She had been the child that shadowed the other players on stage, the miniature version, the echo of the real character. She had jumped rope, she had been a clown prop, she had done so many things, but she hadn’t come home until she had felt the kiss of silk and the fear of the fall.
But, in truth, Verité had yet to fall. She had tumbled, she had dropped, she had lost her grip and sank, but she had never fallen. She had never allowed herself to do so. La Verité, many called her, The Truth, as if that cold Form would explain the distance she engendered, the walls she built between herself and anyone else. And it was true, in its way; she was very careful about whom she dated, on the rare occasions she chose to do so, and she never dated anyone from the company. She was cold, and suspended, and had yet to fall.
She twined the silk about her waist, wrapping it gently and tightly, until she was in a cocoon of emerald light.
Unbeknownst to Verité, there was someone else in the theatre that night. His eyes were not brilliant, were not bright and vivid, but rather dark and stormy, the tumbling shadows and midnight and nightfall rains. He watched her from the back row, well hidden because she had turned on no more light than she absolutely required. He watched her hang, watched her float serenely on a cloud of silk, and was more determined than ever to make her fall.
Nikolai had also grown with the circus, though he had come to it at a later age than she. He and his brothers and cousins, as well as some of their friends, had been a tight-knit act, and the rest of them were still, the flying birds and the porters, the jumpers and flyers that defied gravity with flips and tosses and the inexplicable trust that someone would catch them. He’d been ten when he first joined Cirque de Soleil. But as he grew older, it became obvious that he had inherited his father’s stronger build, where most of his brothers and cousins continued in their mother’s willowy grace. So, little Nikolai had been taken under wing, and encouraged to explore, and found things in which he could excel and delight. He often played in the German Wheel, and couldn’t understand why hamsters were thought of so derisively for their sport in their own wheels. And he, too, learned to fly, in silk and Spanish Web and elastic tethers.
Deciding that Verité had floated long enough, he stood and made his way silently down to the main level of the audience, his bare feet falling with soft grace against the raked floor. He had expected that she would come during the night, though he hadn’t been sure which night. She did that frequently, when she thought the celebration of a show well done would mean she wouldn’t be missed. And so he had prepared, and not let her see those preparations.
Nikolai rolled onto the stage, standing off to the side where he released the string keeping two lengths of flaming silk from the main stage. They swept across the floor now, hanging just behind Verité, who was too lost in her own world to hear the added shushing of the cloth. He’d had to be extremely careful in rigging it, to figure out how to set it safely without her seeing it. He’d finally draped the pulleys with black mesh and fire cloth, and she’d left it alone.
Shucking his shirt, clad only in the clinging nylon practice pants, he walked confidently across and seized the scarlet fabric, pulling himself gracefully up to just behind the dreaming French woman. They were young still, she more so than him, and dreams were to be lived, not filed away in a wisp of memory and cloud and silk. Anchoring his feet in the fabric, he reached out and grasped her hips.
With a startled gasp, Verité partially lost her grip on the silk, the wraps about her waist loosening dangerously. method izle If she’d turned, twisted, even slightly, they could have caused an injury when they tightened from the theft of slack. Wide eyes stared up at him, but he held her securely, until her instinctive questing could result in a renewed purchase in the fabric. “Nikolai! You scared me half to death!”
“I know,” he told her with a small grin. His fingers searched through her hair, pulling out the pins and letting them drop to the mats far below, until the wealth of curls tumbled forward over her shoulders.
“Stop that,” she snapped crossly, batting his hand away. He was constantly trying to surprise her, either with actions or small gifts. Tante always smiled and commented on how très mignon it all was, but Verité didn’t want to think it was cute. She didn’t want to smile when she saw him, she didn’t want to feel that lurch deep in her chest when he gave her one of his slow, knowing smiles. She didn’t want to fall.
“How do you get so far away?”
“I’m right here.”
“Physically,” he agreed easily. He gripped the green silk above her hands, his feet creating wraps in her cloth that tangled with his. She wouldn’t realize immediately that she was trapped, but she would understand soon enough. “But I do not think you have ever truly been here.”
“You speak of nothing,” she murmured.
One hand released the fabric, smoothing along her sculpted cheek. Without even realizing she did so, she leaned into his touch, her eyes half-closing against the sensation. “Will you not fall with me?”
His low chuckle ripped through her, so close to the source of the sound and the amusement. “Never, Verité, is a very long time.”
“Why do you do this to me?”
She had asked him that before, many times, and his answer was never the same. Often, it was merely a joke, a lighthearted comment that frustrated her even as it burned a place within her mind. But there was no smile in his stormy eyes as he looked at her now, no trace of the laughter that only moments before had colored his voice.
“Because you need me to,” he whispered, leaning forward to brush his lips against her ear. “Because I want to. Because you fear to fall, and never should.”
“Please do not do this thing to me.”
“Then tell me to go.”
It was on the tip of her tongue, the tip of her tongue that was between her teeth and poised for speech, but traitorous muscle that it was, she could not make it move. So she trusted instead to the muscles that could not betray her and tried to twist about in the silk. And then the fly understood the spider’s methods; his feet, his limbs, trapped the silk beneath her. She could no more drop than she could fly in truth, for he prevented her progress.
His breath was warm on her neck, ghosting across her ear to raise the fine tendrils of hair on the back of her neck. “If you fall, beautiful one, do you trust me to catch you?”
“Trust is your thing, not mine.”
There was that chuckle of again, the soft press of his lips against her skin. “How can you do what you do, live in the company in which you live, and not trust that someone will be there for you?”
“Even if only once, let me catch you. Just once,” he whispered, his hands at her waist pulling her flush against him.
She gasped again; there was no question of what he was asking her, and she could feet the blood boiling in her cheeks, a painful burn that she knew he could see. Verité was not a virgin, but she had never enjoyed sex; it had never left any particular impact upon her. But she knew, without a doubt she knew, that Nikolai could excite things in her she preferred left dormant. And she knew, too, that if she said no, he would abide by it. She had asked him not to, but she hadn’t told him no.
And she couldn’t.
Nikolai made her feel like she was floating and falling at the same time, a sensation she only otherwise got when the sudden recoil of the silk catching snapped her out of a drop. He had had this effect on her for years, and always they’d only prowled around the edges of that sensation, of that desire.
Nikolai wasn’t prowling, but he wasn’t the one that had to fall.
She shuddered and dropped her head into the curve of his shoulder, her curls tickling his bare chest. “I’m scared,” she confessed quietly.
“I will catch you.”
“That is what scares me.”
For answer, he captured her mouth tenderly with his, not pushing her, just a soft pressure against her until she relaxed into him. “There is nothing to be afraid of, Verité.” He kissed her again, moving gently against her, until her lips parted ever so slightly beneath his. There, suspended in the colorful silks, he kissed her until she melted against his chest, each kiss deepening until their tongues danced together in a graceful give and take.
Nikolai shook his feet out of the silks and thrust his legs quickly between hers, arching into a split that milf manor izle allowed him to recapture the fabric and anchor himself once more. She was now straddling him, her entire weight resting upon his but for what she supported with the grip of her hands. Her thighs tightened about him automatically, cinching his waist. He was now at the perfect level to lick and kiss a tortuous path down her neck.
Her eyes slipping closed, she tilted her head back to give him better access. She was still hesitant, still reluctant, but once she committed to something, she always saw it through. She breathed slowly into the trail of fire igniting wherever his lips touched. She could feel the fine trembling in his arms as his muscles held him perfectly in place, hovering twenty feet off the floor. His mouth moved lower, to where her nipples were digging tight peaks into the thin material of her leotard. He licked through the fabric, damp stains spreading outwards. There really was no such thing as a busty Cirque performer; their bodies were put through too much activity and strain to allow fat to form, but though her chest could barely claim a curve to it, she found her nipples to be no less sensitive when he caught them gently between his teeth.
She moaned low in her throat, arching up into him, wanting to feel him against her skin. He was like the caress of the silk, she needed to feel him against every part of her.
But Nikolai made no attempt to push her leotard off her shoulders, or in any way shift the fabric. He bit and teased, suckled through the thin layer between them, until the grip of her legs around his waist grew painful.
“Be nice,” she cautioned him, her voice too breathy to convey any true sense of warning.
“Nice?” he echoed, arching an eyebrow at her. “Next you will tell me to be good.”
“Do you not intend to be?”
“Oh, I intend to be very good,” he promised, sending a delightful shiver through her. There was something so wrong about this, something truly in error in using the freedom of the silks as foreplay. But then, Verité had always been so careful not to date within the company; she would have had no reason to know. “Hang for me.”
“Like you were earlier,” he urged. “Upside down, and free to the world.”
She looked like she was about to protest, so he bit down teasingly on her breast, blowing a warm breath against the cool dampness. With another shudder, she pulled free of him and twisted about in the silk until it was twined about her hips, the ends dangling from her ankles and her hair hanging down. She was facing him, as she hadn’t been before, but he hadn’t changed position except to secure his ankles more clearly. “Nik-“
“Sssh…” His hands released the crimson material and smoothed across her long legs, his calloused fingers dragging against her pale skin.
God, he could smell her, his face just a breath away from her arousal. She should have been wearing leggings but wasn’t, and there was nothing between her and the world more than a flimsy scrap of mostly sheer fabric, now grown damp with her feeling. He wrapped his arms about her thighs, giving himself the balance not to fall back, and pulled the fabric away from her. She was beautiful there, pale and flushed and glistening, with nothing to hide from him how she felt. Her words could lie, her face could sometimes lie, but she could not masquerade in this way. He took a deep breath, inhaling the unique scent of her for the first time, and blew a cheeky breath across her.
She gasped and swore, such an unaccustomed word in her that he almost did it again just to see if she would repeat it.
He lapped at her in one broad stroke, gathering her taste and moisture on his tongue. She was sweet and musky, and tasted slightly of sweat, a salty tang that clung to his taste buds. She squirmed against him and he smiled, giving her what she wanted, what he wanted to give her. What he had wanted to give her since they were barely teenagers, and he had first seen her fly. He flicked his tongue against her clitoris, whipping the sensitive nub until it flushed against his mouth. She was starting to shake, to tremor, and he sucked on it strongly to send a jolt of arousal shooting through her.
He devoured her with pent-up hunger, his tongue stabbing into her and licking against the spongy walls of her channel. His fingers spread her for him, his chin moving strongly against her clit as she rocked against him. Her arms gripped his calves almost painfully, her voice fleeing her in breathy little gasps and cries. Just when he felt her begin to quake against him, he drew away, his mouth and chin gleaming with the essence of her.
“Nikolai!” she cried, her eyes snapping open.
“You have to fall for the rest, Verité. You have to trust me to catch you.”
Furiously, she swiveled in the embrace of the silk, letting it curve around her, cradle her. Hide her.
Barely daring to hope, Nikolai slid down the length of crimson, his feet hitting the mats with soft thumps. He stood there for several long, terrifying moments, staring up at her and afraid she wouldn’t come. Then, so slowly he almost thought he might have been imagining it, the emerald curtain snuck away and the swathes of silk wove through her thighs and armpits and lowered her slowly towards the floor.
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