They were assigned to cleaning duty in what was arguably the dustiest room in the whole compound, filled to the brim with DVDs, cassette tapes and old stuff no one knew whether worked or not. The small fan they brought in isn't doing much for the heat and Ellie wipes the sweat off her brow, frowning at the empty space Dina should be occupying. At the shelf she should be cleaning.
Dina's head goes left, right, left, to the sound of the soft violins and haunting voices coming from the old cassette player right in front of her. Ellie finds it cute, endearing even, but she thinks of the way Maria's nose crinkles when she's not happy and, well - maybe she'll hold up to that promise of never allowing Ellie to work around Dina ever again. They're certainly doing their part to make it happen.
“‘Teen Angst’. You’re gonna like this one, Ellie.”
“Oh, ha ha.”
Ellie kicks a a cardboard box out of her way, her eyes fixed to a spot in the roof that's either a disaster waiting to happen or a spider paradise. She ignores it in favor of putting a pile of cassette tapes back in the shelves she just cleaned - in orderly fashion, this time. Dina, who doesn't seem to care about doing her duty, taps a half-chewed pencil on the metal shelves, following the rhythm of the music when it falls into a cacophony of distorted electric guitars. When the song returns to a rather underwhelming chorus, Dina stays quiet for a moment, as if to digest what she’s just heard.
“Okay, that was pretty bad.”
“Music critic Dina.”
“That’s me,” she laughs and inserts another tape. “'80′s jams.’ Looks cool.”
For a while there's only the pitter-patter of Dina's feet filling the room with life, her humming low in her throat and the music Ellie doesn't associate at all with the eighties coming off the speakers. Ellie likes the silence. Living with Joel does that to you. Dina, on the other hand, shifts on her feet, taps her fingers. It doesn't surprise Ellie at all when her voice fills the space of the small, cramped room, loud enough to compete with the music.
"Remember that night?"
"The music is just as boring."
"Funny," Dina retorts and almost skips her way to her, putting her arms around Ellie's neck. A dejavu. Dina slides her nose on her cheek and catches her lips in a slow kiss that makes her dizzy. Ellie is sucessful at holding Dina by her waist before she pulls away, but she whines against her lips, expressing her wonder at spotting a pile of childhood movies. She tries to squirm her way out of Ellie's arms, until a song makes her stop moving entirely. It goes on and on about about things Dina should never listen to. Ever. A teasing chuckle reaches her burning ears and Ellie cringes hard.
“Oh my. Did you ghostwrite this?”
“Shut up,” Ellie groans. Dina just laughs and laughs and laughs. The sun touches Dina's jawline through the cracks in the window and Ellie tears her gaze away like it just burned her. “He liked you, you liked him. It was none of my business.”
“Weren’t you jealous?”
“Not even a little?”
Dina lets out a low hum and says, “Back then, I kinda wished you were.”
Ellie shakes her head, exasperated. “Dork.”
“I kept on thinking, ‘I hope Ellie says ‘Get away from my girl!’ when I was, you know. Near him."
She's overaware of the smell of Dina's shampoo and the warmth of her body spreads across her chest like vines. Dina rests her hands on her cheeks - and she answers eargely, her own hands finding solace in the dip of her waist. Dina straightens her spine and lifts her chin to shorten the two or three inches Ellie has over her in height until their lips brush each other the proper way for the first time in what feels like forever. Dina says between kisses about how this room is not hygienic at all and they're going to take a shower before Ellie gets her hands anywhere near her but when Ellie lifts her to a desk and kisses her with an unexpected boldness she melts in her arms.
In her haze, Ellie wonders briefly how she is supposed to resume her task of cleaning a massive, dustied room when she just got a taste of heaven. Or the closest she'll ever get to that, more like. She pulls away, thinks about doing what her old man calls resting your eyes, if only to take her mind out of the gutter.
It doesn't work.
Maria is basically your aunt, Dina argues when they finally decide their time will not amount to anything productive. Like that helps Ellie at all.
When they step into the shower Dina doesn’t poke fun at her, which is a first. She just welcomes her in, tugs Ellie under the hot steam, popping a minuscule dot of shampoo on her hands before running her fingers through Ellie’s mess of a hair. The water is warm, maybe a little too warm for Ellie’s taste, but she's not about to complain. She opens her eyes, dazed - and it's easy for her to return the favor, Dina vulnerable and pliable under her hands.
"That feels so nice," she whispers. "I wish we could stay like that forever."
"Water is a limited resource."
Dina gives a little bite to her neck, reprimanding - and grumbles about the not-so-appetizing taste of soap. She grabs a sponge that smells suspiciously of lavender and brushes the softest parts of her body, making the tips of Ellie's fingers tingle with the urge to touch. The weight of Dina's gaze on her proves she knows.
It's something entirely new.
They somehow manage to finish their shower and dry themselves, the pressure between Ellie's legs never ceasing. Dina's quick to claim her lips again and despite their small height difference, she's surprisingly good at cornering Ellie into where she wants her to be. The porcelain of the sink is cold against her back as Dina's mouth moves to her jaw and what can she do but lay back and accept her?
Her guts twist in anticipation as Dina's fingers close around her wrist, a mischievous smile plastered in her face as she guides her to the bed, plopping herself on it not unlike those erotic paintings Ellie saw in art books - and on a rare occasion, in a decaying museum. She squeals when Ellie grabs her hips to move her to the edge of the bed, and when Ellie laughs in that breathless, irresistible way of hers, Dina traps her in place with her legs with a little too much force.
The sound of conversation and footsteps come from outside Dina's room and they turn quiet, immobile. Even their exhalation falls into a steady pattern. She feels Dina's hands splay over her abdomen, her teeth running over a visible vein on the side of her neck and Ellie stares at her half in awe, half in disbelief. She breathes so deep her lungs ache with the effort.
"If you're doing what I think you're doing," she says, swallowing a gasp mid-sentence, "Remember you're not exactly quiet.”
"Look who's talking," Dina retorts back.
Ellie makes a mental list of all the places they could run off to. There's the office no one ever ventures into because of poltergheist rumors, and the room they were cleaning isn't as bad as Dina makes it sound. But then again, her girlfriend's thighs are warm and soft beneath her hands, her hair curls in the nape of her neck, the scent of lavender is intoxicating, unbearable, and maybe - not maybe, it's too much to pass.
"Okay," she surrenders, earning a light kick to her back for stalling. "Quiet, remember?"
Redness settles prettily on Dina's cheeks, and she doesn’t seem to be paying attention to her warning. Or to anything, really. An accomplishment worthy of a trophy.
“I was thinking we should clean that room," Dina says so softly it takes Ellie a few seconds to make sense of her words. Dina stretches exactly like the cats that roam the compound. Moves like one too, when the need arises. Ellie watches the light muscles of her back contracting and dips a kiss in the most prominent part of her shoulder.
"Now you want to?”
“Want is a bit too strong of a word."
She stretches one last time before leaving the bed (at once, like she intructs Ellie to do when she needs to get up early), walks towards her drawer with clumsy legs before rummaging through the clothes inside. Ellie follows after her, her body tingling with a pleasurable soreness that makes her mellow. Slow. She picks her own clothes from the wooden floor and thanks the universe she won't be going on patrol tonight.
She's on the process of putting one leg inside her jeans when Dina throws a dark green shirt her way. It looks too big, even for Ellie. She puts it on after rolling her eyes, and jumps on the bed again as she watches Dina throw shirts after shirts in the surprisingly tidy floor. Beside her, a mirror with its frame dotted with flower stickers rests on the wall, half covered by a scarf. Ellie leans her head on the polkadoted fabric of Dina's pillow cover, examines the guitar she brought last night, the porcelain bunny that miraculously survived until now and something in her heart just clicks.
Dina gives a little tap to her ankle, her cue to stand on her feet. It takes a lot of effort for Ellie to not kiss her all over again. Dina fixes the ends of her auburn hair before they walk to the door and she thinks there must be some truth to what her friends said - that Dina's got her at the palm of her hands, at the snap of her fingers. It scares her, sometimes, how much she's able to love.
"Door's jammed," Dina turns the knob, gives an insistent bump when the door doesn't budge.
"Isn't it locked?"
"Ah," she murmurs, realization dawning on her face. "Yeah."
Ellie almost asks where she left the key, but judging by the way she's rummaging the whole room it seems Dina doesn't know either. Maybe Dina's just as dumbfounded as she is with this whole kissing thing between them - with this relationship - enough to forget she locked the door. After three long minutes her girlfriend emerges from a peach-coloured rug, holding a key between her fingers.
“No fooling around this time,” Ellie scolds (like an hypocrite, some part of her mind taunts), slapping Dina's hand before she can open the door. Her eyes sparkle too much for her to be taken seriously.
"Oh, I don't know," Dina pulls her close by her collar and laughs when Ellie stumbles. "You look good in green."
"You look good in anything," Ellie declares.
They look at each other for a electrifying second before she dips down to kiss Dina, her lips parting against hers, slow and soft and holy. Ellie traces her earlobe, then the heart-shaped necklace around her throat, a gift for her birthday - and parts from her, with no short amount of hesitation. The promise of later hangs in the air as they step into the hallway.
"You're pretty, but I won't jump on you at every chance I have," Ellie teases. "I'm just saying."
Dina raises a doubful eyebrow, her lips curling into an affectionate grin.
"Keep telling yourself that, Ellie. You keep telling yourself that."