It was warm— or no, it was hot. Unbearably hot, there was almost nobody on the streets; if any, they were in the shade. When was the last time it had rained? It was hard to remember when exactly that was, but it seemed like it was months.
The young woman took out her water bottle and tried to twist the cap off, which wasn’t easy with sweat covering her hands and fingers. She wiped her right hand off on her pants, which weren’t as damp as her shirt yet. Again, she tried to twist and this time she was in luck; the cap came off but fell onto the ground. Now it was covered in sand, but the water was too precious to waste on cleaning the cap. The woman brought the bottle to her mouth and gulped thirstily, now she realized even more how thirsty she had been. Before she knew it, the bottle was completely empty; it had been the last full bottle she carried with her.
“Darn it, Korra,” she cursed to herself. She bent over to grab the cap and put it in one of the back pockets of her pants, the empty bottle went back into her bag. Now she just had to find some kind of water source, fill up her bottles and make sure to find a place to stay for the night. Even though it was only early afternoon, with this heat it would be much harder to get very far.
She reached a small village, buildings slowly growing as she got closer and closer. The roofs were a reddish brown, standing out with walls mostly cream-white and beige. The buildings were close to one another, but somehow it caused to give off a cozy vibe. Korra started to smile, this small village felt like—like home, but far away from home; a home away from home. Maybe she could find a place to spend the night here; hopefully the residents were as friendly as the village looked.
Suddenly she heard music in the distance; trumpets, a drum and—it was a instrument with keys, but she couldn’t really tell which one exactly. All she knew was that it sounded very festive, the kind that lures you in and invites you to move. Subconsciously she followed the music, completely forgetting about the rules she made for herself; to not get off of track. Korra just had to see where it came from, ignoring this music was simply impossible.
She reached a small town square, with people everywhere, moving, dancing and a small group playing instruments. It was as if the heat didn’t seem to affect them at all, they swayed over the town square on the rhythm of the music. It gave Korra a giddy feeling in her stomach and made her smile widely, wishing she could dance like these people did.
A woman caught her eye, without a single doubt the palest skinned person in the entire square. Hair as black as the night, dark red lips were a beautiful contrast. Then their eyes met for a few seconds, the yellow-green irises were like Korra had never seen before.
She watched the woman dance and sway, the dress that the pale beauty wore swaying along. It was a burgundy sleeveless dress, reaching down to the knees in the front, but all the way to the ground in the back. It had overlapping layers of fabric, with black lace on the edges.
“Hello stranger,” the woman mouthed, startling Korra a little. She’d been lost in watching the woman’s movements, she hadn’t realized she’d actually been staring.
“H-hi,” Korra mouthed back, a bit embarrassed. She froze as the woman moved into her direction, still dancing to the music.
“Join me.” Korra’s eyes widened and she gulped.
“I—I can’t dance…” she stuttered, looking down in slight embarrassment. The woman’s voice was a very gentle and pleasant one, making it hard for Korra to resist and just take the invitation. The woman smiled friendly, somehow calming Korra’s nerves a little bit.
“Neither can I,” the woman replied, causing Korra’s jaw to drop.
“Are you kidding me? You’re amazing!” Korra blurted and slapped her hands in front of her big mouth. Smooth, Korra. Smooth.
“No, I’m Asami. But thank you for the compliment,” the woman said, took Korra’s hand and looked her in the eye. “Please, just give it a try? I promise I’ll help and will make sure you look like a great dancer.” Korra sighed, she couldn’t seem to object and gave in. She dropped her bag and let the woman named Asami lead her to where she had been dancing before.
Korra was barely aware of what she did, as she was lost in the yellow-green irises of the pale beauty. She felt very light, as they were swaying over the square onto the rhythm of the music. It was as if time slowed down, it was like a blur; a pleasant one.
Korra blinked in confusion as she realized that the music had stopped, as well as the people. It took a minute to realize that she and Asami were also standing still, receiving applause? She could feel her cheeks burn even more, surely coloring an even darker shade of pink than before.
“I—I just—“ Korra muttered, feeling lightheaded and having trouble to feel her legs.
“Whoa! Hold on—“ Korra desperately tried to shake off the lightheadedness and regain control over her body and legs, but seemed to fail. Her vision went blurry and dark, she couldn’t feel her body anymore and wasn’t really sure what was happening.
“Someone please help me carry her inside! Can someone also bring her bag?” A voice called out somewhere in the far distance.
“She probably hasn’t been drinking enough water, she surely doesn’t seem to be from around here.”
“It was just foolish of me, I shouldn’t have insisted for her to dance with me. Poor girl, I feel so bad…”
“Don’t be silly, you didn’t know; nobody did. All we can do is wait for her to wake up and make sure she eats and drinks.”
“She can stay here with me for the night, if necessary two or more nights. I’ll make sure to make her some food and I put water over there on the nightstand.”
“You’ve got a good heart, Asami. I know you’ll take good care of her, just make sure you hydrate too.”
“No worries, I will. Thank you for helping, go get some sleep.”
“No problem, Asami. You too, good night, dear.”
As Korra woke up little by little, she noticed that she was lying down. She opened her eyes, but it was pitch dark. Her ears picked up the sound of soft, even breathing close to her. As her eyes slowly got used to the dark, Korra could vaguely identify a head resting next to her stomach. It took a little longer for Korra to notice and realize that it was Asami; the woman who’d asked Korra to dance with her, earlier.
What had happened? The last thing Korra could remember was that the music had stopped and people seemed to have applauded for her and Asami, but she wasn’t sure anymore if that had actually happened or not.
“You’re awake.” A soft and raspy voice pulled Korra away from her thoughts. It was Asami, who just woke up herself.
“So are you,” Korra replied, followed by a soft chuckle.
“Apparently so,” Asami said with a smile and stretched out her arms and legs. “How do you feel?” Korra shrugged.
“Okay, I guess. Just a little tired still and my throat feels dry…” she then replied. Asami stood up and smiled kindly at Korra.
“I’ll get you a glass of water.” Korra watched Asami walk to the nightstand on the other side of the bed and pour water into a glass that was on there, then walk back to Korra and handing her the glass of water.
“Thank you so much, for— Wait, what actually happened?”
“Well, you fainted and blacked out. You were probably dehydrated and then we danced, which didn’t do much good… I’m sorry about that; I shouldn’t have pressured you to dance—“
“No, no. It’s not your fault, I’m glad you did. And I’m okay now, right?” Asami nodded, but obviously still feeling guilty. “I’m in company of a very pretty woman, who took care of me and danced with me; while I can’t dance at all.” Korra smiled, she was just being honest.
“T-thank you, for the compliment… But you’re not that bad, you know. Maybe not a natural, but you’re not bad. Trust me, I’ve had worse.” Asami said and Korra raised her eyebrows.
“Worse than me? That must be impossible,” Korra said. “Please tell me you’re joking.” But Asami shook her head.
“Nope, I’m serious.”
“Poor thing,” Korra said with a grin and emptied her glass of water, drinking it all in one go. “How long have you been dancing?” she asked curiously while rolling the empty glass in between her hand palms.
“Oh, that’s a good question…” Asami replied. Korra could see her think and waited patiently. “It must have been… I think about twenty years now? I’m twenty-two now—yes, that’s right. Around twenty years.”
Korra just stared, her jaw dropping. “Wait, you mean you started dancing at… Two?” Asami nodded with a smile. “Most kids can barely walk and run properly at that age—right? Impressive!”
Korra got startled as bright sunbeams came through the gap of the curtains, meaning they had stayed up all night talking. Which also meant Korra had kept Asami from sleeping, causing a wave of guilt to wash over her.
“I’m so sorry! I kept you up all night, you must be super exhausted. I’m so sorry—“
“Don’t be sorry! It was totally worth it, honestly,” Asami interrupted her. “I enjoyed talking with you, it has been quite a while since I had such a long and interesting conversation with someone. “ Korra fet her cheeks getting a bit warm and cleared her throat.
“I eh… Oh.” Korra simply didn’t know what to say to that.
“Cute,” Asami said with a giggle and got up. “Hungry? I’ll make us some breakfast.” Korra’s stomach rumbled and they both laughed. “Sounds like a ‘yes’ to me,” Asami said and walked towards the kitchen. “Do you like eggs?”
“Yeah, sure!” Korra answered and slowly got out of the bed, then stretched her body which was aching a little.
“Boiled, scrambled, baked?”
“Whatever you’ll have,” Korra replied while looking for her clothes. “Ehm, Asami? Where did you put my clothes?”
“Oh! They’re in the bathroom, if you want you can grab a shower. On the right is a door, through there is the bathroom!” Asami answered.
The bathroom wasn’t big, but it didn’t feel small either. There was a stone sink with a big mirror above it, in the opposite corner was the shower. A toilet and towel rack next to the shower in the other corner. Left from the door was a dresser, with all kinds of make-up, creams and lotions. In front of it was a small stool, on which Korra’s clothes were; neatly folded and everything.
Before Korra got into the shower, she splashed some cold water in her face. It felt good, refreshing. She grabbed a towel from a shelf next to the mirror, took off her underwear and tanktop and stepped into the shower. Right after Korra turned on the water, she noticed that there was a window inside the shower. Nobody would peek inside, there were bushes a few feet away from the window that reached almost to the roof. Korra could only think how interesting that was, she’d never seen that before.
“How was the shower?” Asami asked as Korra walked into the kitchen. Korra smiled widely and threw her arms up in the air.
“Amazing! I feel much better, my muscles are nice and relaxed now too. Thank you for letting me use your bathroom and for folding my clothes so neatly.” Asami shook her head.
“No need to thank me, it’s the least I could do. Oh, your breakfast is done and served,” Asami said and nodded towards the table next to Korra.
“Thank you, looks very good!” Korra sat down and waited for Asami to join her before she’d start.
“Go ahead, before it gets cold. You want some coffee?” Korra nodded excitedly, she hadn’t had coffee in over a week. “Yes ma’am.”
“So Korra,” Asami started as she sat down and gave Korra her coffee. “I was thinking…”
“Hmm? Yes?” Korra replied, after swallowing another bite of her eggs.
“If you want, I could give you some training.”
“In what? Dancing? Are you sure about that?” Asami nodded. “Eh, sure…”
“But I’d have to ask you for something in return,” Asami continued. “There’s some things in the house that have to be done, which I can’t do…”
“Oh, I can help you!” Korra said with a smile.
Korra had never thought plans could go so differently than originally planned, she’d spent a week with Asami now and could feel herself falling for the dancer. Asami helped her with dancing while Korra fixed some things in and around the house during the day, she didn’t really feel like leaving; but she knew she couldn’t stay here for much longer. She had left home to make this journey, to see more of the world she lived in, meet new people, experience different cultures, but not stick at the same spot for longer than three days.
What had she got herself into? Korra sighed and wiped the sweat off of her forehead. It was extremely hot and her body was begging for water, dark spots started to dance in front of her eyes. Just when Korra thought she’d faint again, Asami stood next to her with a glass of water.
“Drink up and come inside, you need a break,” Asami said with a smile. She waited for Korra to empty the glass and they walked towards the house together. “I made you a sandwich too,” she said as they got inside. Asami handed Korra the sandwich and sat down on the couch, gesturing Korra to join her.
Korra was relieved to be inside, it was nice and cool here. The sandwich Asami had made her was absolutely delicious and had been exactly what Korra needed, her body almost sighed in relief. Especially when Korra sat down on the couch, next to Asami.
When Korra finished her sandwich, Asami sat up straight and looked Korra in the eye. Korra raised her eyebrow, slightly confused. She wasn’t quite sure what was happening, did she do something wrong?
“Korra, I can’t do this anymore.” Korra gulped, afraid that she had crossed a line or something. “Korra, I just—“ but Asami never finished. She leaned over and pressed her lips against Korra’s, gentle and curious at first. But then, more passionately. Korra felt her cheeks burn and her stomach jolting, her heart was pounding and her mind was blank. She gave in and kissed Asami back, with the same passion and crave.
For a short moment, their lips parted. Both of them were slightly out of breath and just looked into each other’s eyes. Speechless; words weren’t needed. Their bodies spoke a language they both perfectly understood, the looks in their eyes spoke more than a thousand words. Clothes came off, hands lingered everywhere, their breaths mingled and small drops of sweat covered both their bodies.
Korra felt sad, but she had to go. There were so many more places to go and explore, cultures to experience and people to meet. But she was more than certain that she would return to visit Asami again, if only to see her dance again.
“Just be safe, please. I put some sandwiches in your backpack and filled all the water bottles,” Asami said softly. It wasn’t easy on either of them, but they both knew it was for the best, for now. “I’ll look forward to see you again, stranger.” Korra chuckled and nodded, then wrapped her arms around Asami’s neck and kissed her softly.
“Thanks again, for everything. I’ve had an amazing time with you here, Asami…” Korra sighed and looked down, dreading this goodbye.
“Our time isn’t over yet, Korra. Right?” Asami said, biting her lower lip. Korra nodded and kissed Asami again, but deeply this time.
“Not even close. I’ll return again, then I’ll actually have some interesting stories to tell you,” Korra answered and smiled, excited to continue her journey.
“You better,” Asami teased and pressed her lips against Korra’s cheek. “Now go, adventurer. Until we meet again.”
“Until we meet again, señorita.” Korra bowed, turned and walked off towards new places. Once more she turned around and waved to Asami, who was still in the door opening and waved back at her. Korra smiled from ear to ear and walked towards the horizon, filled with giddy excitement. This might be an actual life-changing journey and she felt happier than ever.