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What am I doing here, what am I doing, what the fuck am I doing here?

The question was incessant as Manon strode through the simply lit tents, shouting and bells and music all around her. She couldn't recall the last time she'd been to a carnival like this, one with a dark caravan style setup that was heavy with incense smoke and odd workers with sharp grins. This was a place where things happened—darker ones of under-the-table dealing and dog fights and rough, heated one night affairs in the darker corners.

But it was not fear coursing through her veins as she trudged over dead grass and between other guests, but fascinated excitement. Around her were those less aware, oblivious families, couples, children simply looking for innocent fun and unable to recognize this fair for what it was. It was almost a shame, but she strode through it all with confidence and silence—between the booths of small children getting their money swindled away for a small plush, even less knowledgeable adults handing over hefty amounts for a glimpse at a ballerina twirling in a glass bottle and boys with eleven fingers and played lyres.

She couldn't remember how she'd gotten here, only that part of her brain screaming to leave . That this was a place of no good. It went ignored in favor of the part that had her peeking into the tents without giving coin, that had her stopping to examine the small bottles of potions and watch young women draped in silk sing haunting ballads she'd never heard before now. It was dangerous being here, anything could happen in a place such as this, but Manon believed that was all just a part of the fun.

A woman stood leaning against a tent of heavy cloth only a mere foot away, dark eyes coy and gleaming mischievously as Manon’s met them. She said nothing, but that look—that look of curiosity and flirtation as she dragged her gaze over Manon and twirled the pink scarf between her fingers before tilting her head back down to look at Manon up through her eyelashes— it was enough to send a hot churning in the put of Manon’s stomach.

Without realizing it she stepped forward, entranced. There was a small voice in the back of her head telling her to stop, that she was simply passing through and it would be unwise to engage in any sort of—distractions—that might tempt her here, no matter how beautiful.

Manon was no fool, she knew this girl was probably acting, that this was most likely a pleasure tent and even if she did follow her in, it would not be her that Manon would be lying with. And still, she couldn’t deny how her eyes followed as the girl leaned forward the slightest bit to reveal the beginning of deep cleavage beneath her dress, partially hidden by the cloak fastened around her neck. Manon wanted to push it aside, to run her hands over the smooth dip of collarbone, to kiss the soft flesh until she had the other girl writhing beneath her. Her long, dark hair was tied in an intricate knot, a golden hairpin keeping it neatly together, tempting and soft looking as it fell over her eyes.

Finally the girl spoke, taking a fist of Manon’s cloak to pull her close enough that their breaths mixed together. “Do you care for a reading,” she said lowly, voice barely a whisper. “My cards never lie, and perhaps I could give you a special reading, on the house after?”

Manon nodded and let the girl spin her into the tent, the small bells on her waist tinkling as she did so. It was a dumb idea, and even if this girl was just a tarot reader, it was still just a ruse to get Manon into this tent. She let out a sigh of frustration, though it was still somewhat breathless as she watched the girl slowly saunter to the center of the room to an embroidered rug where a gold foil deck was laid. In the corner, a blonde girl sat with her feet propped up as she read a book by the single oil lamp in the otherwise dark tent.

The tarot reader gave her a look as she sat herself down in front of the cards and unfastened her cloak, though Manon was unable to really understand what it meant, too busy watching the heavy fabric fall away from the girl’s smooth shoulders. All that was beneath it was a cropped, strapless top the color of twilight and had the same small bells that were on the loose chiffon pants lining the bottom hem. In the low glow of the tent, it was impossible not to stare at the exposed skin, at the small silver stud in the girl’s navel and the way the waist of the pants sat low but firmly on her hips.

Perhaps it was a bit rude to so brazenly lust after a stranger like this, but after the girl with the book gave the tarot reader a look of warning and exasperation then left, Manon could see the heat in her eyes as well as Manon slowly removed her gloves.

“We may begin now,” the reader said, leaning forward again, this time leaning on her hands as she let Manon stare with a small smirk. “I am Elide, what sort of reading would you like this evening?” she asked, beginning to shuffle her cards.

Manon began to slide her cloak off as well, heartbeat racing as Elide climbed over the rug to straddle Manon still holding a few cards. Well it seemed that she was going to get more from this, then, Manon realized in delight and squeezed her ass lightly. “I’m not sure,” Manon said breathlessly, “what are my options?”

A soft, cool hand began to run up her thigh and Manon shivered, the heat beginning to pool between her legs, feverish and yearning. It took every ounce of willpower for her to remain still, to not surge forward and beg Elide to touch her, to let Manon run her tongue over those breasts and slowly fuck her into oblivion.

“Well,” Elide said, fingers brushing lightly against Manon’s hipbone and sliding beneath the hem of her trousers and underwear. “it depends.” Manon bit back a small whimper and curled her hands into the cool grass beneath them as Elide’s lips were suddenly on her neck, pressing small kisses and pulling at skin with her teeth between words. “There are a few. Perhaps you would like one for,” she paused and bit down, at the same time pulling Manon’s pants down to mid thigh before moving back up to her opening. “Desire or love.”

She paused in her movement, meeting Manon’s eyes, the question clear in her eyes despite the lust clouding over them. Silently, Manon nodded and was pulled into a deep, sloppy kiss. She let out a moan as Elide’s fingers entered her and let Elide’s tongue tangle with her own and run over her teeth languidly.

They were sat at the edge of the tent, just out of view from the tent flap’s opening for the most part but their shadows cast deeply on the fabric walls, silhouettes and activities clear for any who passed by that wall or stepped at the right angle in front. Elide looked unperturbed by this as she unceremoniously pulled Manon’s hair from its tight braid at the back of her head. She wanted to be bothered by this, wanted to blow out the light and keep Elide for herself, but at the same time knowing that they’d know—that now, here she was the one fucking this gorgeous worker in the damp grass, that Elide was hers at the moment. It sent a small thrill through her and so she held tighter, bit Elide’s lip longer, bucked her hips up harder.

“Two of swords,” Elide breathed out as Manon tore her hair from its updo and pulled at the strands as if her life depended on it. She smiled and pushed another finger in and let Manon pull away her flimsy top, letting out a shaky sigh. “Wait until I’ve got more than just my fingers in you, I’ll make you scream so hard this whole damn fair will know I’m fucking you right now.”

Manon said nothing and instead let a hand drop to Elide’s right breast, brushing over the hardened nipple as she mouthed over the other one, softly licking with her tongue. “And what does that mean?” she asked, pushing Elide forward into the pile of cards so she could press against her harder and grind down on her as she lightly bit down.

Elide keened, threading her fingers through platinum hair as she said, “An unexpected new event, a brilliant newn love when it was thought to be impossible.” She paused, pulling out of Manon to kick down her pants and Manon peeled off her own shirt and bra, throwing the garments somewhere else in the tent then pulled Elide close again.

“Huh, who would’ve thought,” Manon said, then thrusted down between Elide’s wide spread legs, relishing in the way that the other girl’s eyes fluttered closed and let out a loud moan, grinding up against her roughly.

They stopped talking after that, instead letting the wet sound of skin slapping against skin and small pants and groans and whimpers fill the air as they frantically rubbed against each other, shaky hands gripping at grass, hair, fabric, anything as they lay there.

Manon could barely see straight as she sat up again, catching Elide’s mouth in another kiss before leaning down and brushing her tongue against Elide’s drenched hole. It had been a while since she’d last done this, too long it seemed as she felt herself tighten when she finally tasted Elide. This was good. Elide was good. So, so good, that Manon knew that even if she left after this that she’d be having dreams of it for months after.

“God you’re fucking beautiful, you know that?” she mumbled, pushing in forward as Elide’s legs wrapped around her and pulled her in even more, until coarse hair was brushing against her forehead. Manon paid it no mind. “And you taste amazing.” She continued to stare up as she ran her tongue over the pink swollen lips of her clit, eyes hooded.

Elide had the audacity to blush, only making her even hotter in a way. But then she was sitting up and flipping them onto their sides, another self satisfied smirk on her lips. She glanced down to where Manon’s head now was, shifting her hips so that she was only a breath away from the other girl’s lips. Quietly she said, “I bet you’re even better,” and then Manon was the one gasping as she felt Elide’s tongue slide against her opening and threw a leg over her side for a wider opening.

After a moment of just laying there and feeling Elide—her tongue, her hand squeezing against her ass, her hair tickling her thighs, all of it so beautiful—Manon leaned forward again and licked up the new stream of white pouring from her.

She wasn’t sure how long it was—probably not too much time, not when Elide could do that with her tongue—but then Manon was crying out loudly into Elide’s pelvis, the high of the orgasm shaking her entire body as she gripped the back of her thighs. Barely a moment later she could feel Elide hit hers as well as she let out a curse, and placed a trail of kisses to her inner thigh, loving the way that her legs pulled closer around Manon’s face as she did so.

They stayed there for a moment before Manon sat up, turning to sit on top of Elide , legs on either side of her head. She stared at the dazed look in her eyes, the flush on her cheeks, the swollen pinkness on her full lips. “Holy fuck,” she panted, brushing a curl of hair that had fallen into Elide’s eyes out of the way. “Has anyone told you how incredibly sexy you are?”

Elide blushed again, her eyes breaking away from Manon’s and trailed a finger down her front side. “I don’t know, you’re pretty good too,” she said smoothly, sitting up as well until their noses touched. “ Really good.”

They ended up making out again, this time slower but with no less heat, and that was how Elide’s coworker found them—naked and rolling around on the tarot reading mat while sucking each other’s face off, one of the best outcomes in Manon’s opinion.

He coughed awkwardly, causing the two to look up again. “Uh, Aelin said you were busy but I didn’t think it was uh,” he looked away, face burning. “This. Sorry. But we sort of need you to help for closing. If you can, I mean. Uh, yeah. Sorry, bye.”

Elide looked embarrassed as he ducked out of the tent but laughed all the same as she turned back to Manon. “You’d think he’s never seen boobs before,” she commented. They exchanged a small grin and then Manon looked down, realizing again just how warm and sticky she felt. And there was no way to see what time it was, no idea how late she was running.

It was probably best if she left now, pulled her clothing back on and gave Elide however much money she was charging for these tarot readings before she couldn’t stop. But truthfully, she didn’t want to. This was just an unexpected pit stop on her way, and the carnival was one constantly on the move as well—they’d never meet again. And yes, maybe their relationship so far was just built on lust, maybe all Elide wanted was a small hook up before getting on the road again, but there was something about her—something in the way she laughed and smiled now that made her chest flutter like butterflies that made her want more of it. Whatever it was.

Not that it’d ever be realistic, but still the thought was nice—meeting up somewhere after this during the day, watch a show or have dinner somewhere nice with only soft looks and walking down on the beach. Manon sighed and got off of Elide, trying to hide her frown.

“Well uh, that was… great. You’re uh, you’re really good at that so thanks,” she said stiffly, then mentally kicked herself. It wasn’t like this was the first time that she found and slept with a random girl from somewhere, but usually it wasn’t this goddamn awkward.

Elide propped herself onto her elbows, looking shy and unsure but sexy at the same time as she shot her a small smile. “Yeah, you too. It’s been a while since I’ve done something like this it was really nice. Perhaps I’ll be able to see you around and we could do it again some time.” She paused, tossing Manon’s abandoned bra back and pulling her own pants on again. “Or maybe, uh, I don’t know, see a show or something. Not that you have to, but it’d be cool.”

Manon looked at her with wide eyes, uncaring that the buttons on her shirt were entirely crooked. “Yeah, I think I’d like that,” she said, voice just above a whisper and a smile threatening to take over her face. They both knew it wasn’t a possibility, that they’d never see each other again, but Manon still liked to entertain the thought.

Too soon they were both fully dressed again, hair still messy but mostly decent enough to go outside. The air was cool and fresh as they stepped out, clean and full of people mostly unaware of what had just happened inside the tent. Manon let Elide pull her lightly to wherever she was supposed to be going now when suddenly she stopped.

“Wait, I’m supposed to pay you for the tarot thing, right?” Manon said, moving to dig through her satchel. She still wasn’t keen on overpaying for sitting down and being told the name of some random card, but it was Elide so she’d tolerate it. Besides, in the end she’d gotten a bit more than just a reading so it’d be worth the money.

Elide shook her head, fingers catching Manon’s wrist. “Consider it paid through other means,” she said with a small, sly smile despite the blush accompanying it. How someone could be so hot and adorable at the same time was baffling, but Manon just nodded and let Elide thread their fingers together for the rest of their walk.

Eventually they stopped in front of a large, brighter tent. “This is where I’m going. Hopefully I’ll see you around?” Elide said reluctantly, eyes on Manon’s lips. She wondered what would happen if she decided to push her up against this wall, out here in the bright busy open grounds again and kiss her, to feel the feel of her breasts under her tongue again and slip beneath that impossibly tight—

No. She had to go quickly. Not that it would help to keep Elide out of her mind for the next few months. It was impossible to forget someone like her.

“I hope so,” she breathed out then caught Elide’s mouth into another kiss. She leaned into it, letting saliva mix and hands wander, held her ass tightly as she pressed them into the table up front and pressed her hips flush against Elide’s.

She could feel Elide’s right hand trailing beneath her cloak and towards the waist of her pants again, fingers dipping into the band again when the tent flap opened and the blonde girl from earlier stepped out. The two stepped back, Elide looking entirely mortified and Manon just a bit dazed.

“Alright, as great as it is that you got some,” the girl told Elide, causing the girl to blush again, “we really need your help in here.” She then turned to Manon. “Thanks for fucking my super thirsty cousin, but maybe next time be a bit quicker we’ve got to go.”

“Aelin,” Elide hissed incredulously. “Uh sorry, yeah. Nice meeting you, Manon.” She gave her another small smile, pushing a strand of hair behind her ear and disappeared into the tent.

Manon watched her go for a long moment, the way her hips swayed and the bells jingled before smiling a small smile to herself. “Yeah, you too,” she whispered, then flipped the hood of her cloak up and disappearing back into the night.

Perhaps they’d never meet again, perhaps they would. Either way, it was something that Manon would not forget, for a while or ever, a pair of dark eyes and a coy smile to forever remain stuck in her mind.