Foam swaddled his ankles, refreshing against the heat baking the rest of his skin. A delicious sensation down by his toes as the wet grains of the sand seeped deeply between them. They wiggled and sunk deeper. Happy, carefree, one foot struggles loose and throws water into the air in front of him along with a wet clump of sand. The splash made him giggle louder, and the other foot comes out. Water dances, sand falls with a wet plop and laughter contends with the sounds of the ocean. Far off it appears calm, restful, but closer to shore the water swells and crashes and eventually, simpers.
Chubby stubby fingers scan the horizon, observing the meeting of two pale blue horizons. No boats, not even a dingy. Only a few gulls hover over a prime location, one dives into the water. When it comes up he cannot tell if it was successful in its hunt.
The water follows him away from the breathtaking scenery. It swirls and burps as feet sink into the bed bottom. Ankles tickled, hard shells underfoot, some are smooth, some sharp, the skin flexes but doesn't prick.
Godlike, the cliff side is cast in shadow. A large face, imposing, yet sweet and kind at least that's what the child thought, arm outstretched with a line of shirts and pants and socks suspended on a clothes line between finger and thumb.
The other arms are broken at the elbow. Mossy rocks littered the beach. Some natural, some not so, as short fingers pat a larger one protruding from the sand. Its rocky surface liquefied then hardened again, blistering the stone flesh; the hand coming out of the sand droops and curls inward in a wave.
As he walks the sand sticks to the boys wet feet. Tickled by the heat; though the moisture evaporates and the child soon finds his feet hopping madly under him. "Ow-ow-ow." The boy cries in his dash for the shade of the umbrella. The cat's eyes are gleeful to receive him with a wide toothy grin. A dive for safety the child hits the blanket hard. He groans and grabs for his aching feet. With trouble, he bends to blow on them. The waistline of his shirt rides showing a pinkish red object lodged in his belly button; replacing his belly button. Soft breathes ease the burn. A sigh as he settles back, propped by chunky arms as short as his legs. The gem in his tummy is allowed to soak in the shade as well. It seems to gleam even when not in the sun, as if it can see the beach, knows of it with fondness.
"Ahhhh," the boy melts back further, onto his back, "this is the life, huh?" He asks knowing that no reply would be forthcoming, but he knows that she's in agreement. Can just...tell, what she is thinking behind those thick sunglasses, even if he couldn't see her eyes.
Hair thick and black and square, perfectly square, when she brushes it back the mass of curls move as one; quivering back into this natural shape. She smiles. Plain and lethargic; to the child it was brighter than the sun beating down on his beach umbrella. Relaxed in her beaten up chair, large thighs crossed, she idles easily. Hands at the side, they make no attempt to keep busy. The air is serene about her. Calm and so has the same effect on the child who finds his eyes are closing of their own accord.
The echoes of the seagulls carry to them. Ocean mixes on the beach front, frothing, and stripping a layer of sand away while erasing his footprints.
Fingers and toes curl, the feeling is wonderful, relaxing. The sand that had stuck to his toes shakes loose onto the blanket. A hand idly wanders to his stomach and scratches his gem. First, circling the outside edge then wanders to the crown and rests overtop. A gentle rub over its smooth surface, the action seems to make his entire body tingle. He smiles. Gives it a few pats and laughs when a few fingers slip over his belly. They press the flesh around the gem and he jiggles it comically, and laughed harder than before. Heaving he pounds his feet on the blanket pushing it into the sand, "Ha-ha-ha."
The gem gives a sultry low chuckle, "What's so funny Steven?" One might have thought the tone to be thick and calloused; off putting. To his ears it was sweet and had the hint of a playful laugh. She leans over, invading the shade as she watches the giggling boy with affection. While resting a hand under her chin Steven spy's his happy reflection staring back, as well as the woman's subtle smile. Reaching out she prods the boy.
He shrieks at her ticklish touch, "Garnet, stop! You know my stomach is my weak spot."
"My, what a tempting weakness for a mighty gem w'rrior." Prodding the spot again and making the child roll away, but her long arm followed
"Ha-ha-ha. Ha-ha-ha. Garnet! I'm serious. No one can know about my weaknesses, otherwise I could easily be beaten."
"'tis a cute weakness." The woman concluded, curling her fingers back over her palm and covering the shiny sapphire embedded in it. Her fingers rub it tenderly as they curl inward.
Without the other's touch the boy settles, and growing stern, "I'm a man." He attempts to stick up for himself.
"That 'u are." And the gem sits back in her chair, shoulders in an ever constant state of tension, face as impassive as the tide. Crossing her legs again and bobs her foot a little to an unheard beat.
Crashing waves swallow the silence. Sitting up, Steven brushes his curly black hair. Some sand falls onto his pants which he doesn't bother to brush away. Instead he looks around the empty beach. No one strays close to the temple; besides the mailman. Who was either the most unaware or the bravest person in all of beach city to go unaccompanied to his home. It was alright anyway only because Steven got the mail, it wasn't like Garnet or the others were receiving packages.
A seagull shrieked. They had abandoned the hunt and came to rummage the beach for any leftovers. There were probably some fry bits and hamburgers and maybe a piece of pepperoni that fell off his pizza, but other than that it was slim pickings on this side of the beach, and when the seagulls realized this they flew off to the other side of the cliff for a better score. With sadness Steven watched them go, even giving them a wave as he saw them disappear behind the large face sticking out of the cliff. Pupiless eyes stared towards the oceans; not an island in site. Maybe if she weren't missing the rest of her hands at least one might be outstretched longingly.
Scooting to the edge of the blanket Steven began to scoop up the sand into a pile. It didn't stick well without being wet; he couldn't add any edges or pile it higher than his ankles. He patted and formed the sand into a crude lumpy mound. Using his chubby index finger he poked a few arbitrary holes. Skylights...maybe, for his little sand home, along with a very wide front door. He was proud of what he had made. It just needed one more thing to make it perfect.
The boy jumped to his feet, mindful of what he had made as he leaped out from under the comfort of the umbrella. Sweat started immediately, and a tingling in his feet. He ran and hid them in the small shadow of a rock while he searched around it. There wasn't anything of use there, but if he could make it across what to him was a lava filled canyon then maybe, he thought he might find what he was looking for over there. In a mad dash along the beach the boy made it to the spot and using the stone he sat while his toes cooled. They throbbed a little so Steven buried them in the sand finding the cover to be cool. He sighed happily at the relief. Then remembering that he was on a search, the boy looked about while staying buried. Fingers close around it and the boy smiles in triumph that is before he realizes that he would have to return to the blanket.
When he makes it back under the comfort of the umbrella, Steven sits and begins to work. Taking the discarded bag of chips that he had half buried so it wouldn't blow away the boy tares off an uneven square then tucks the corner into the forked end of the stick.
"Dun-du-du-dun-du-duuuu. I crown this castle in the name of the crystal gems." A proud tone as the flag is planted on top. It causes one side to crumble a bit; otherwise it kept its shape, "what do you think Garnet?"
The woman tilts her head down and says with a flat tone, "That's nice." Before settling again.
"Yeah it is pretty impressive-isn't it?" Steven gloats as he rubs his knuckles across his shirt, "notice the artistic license I took when I gave it all these windows, that way it won't need the lights on even at night with all the stars in the sky. It has form, as well as function...and it's really awesome." Hands thrown up in excitement the boy beams at the woman reclining. Looks to the sand mound, back to the woman, then back to the sand mound again, "I should show Pearl, she'll have more to say. No offense Garnet, but you don't really get my genius."
The woman shrugs, grunts, but goes no further. However, she does rub her palms together, the gems in each slide across one another with a silent scrapping sound that leaves the spine tingling. The two halves of her mind are wrestling, working out how much she should give away. What the appropriate road to take to the best possible outcome. She already knows what Steven is about to ask next, and that is where the main body of water splits into so many different tributaries.
"Where is Pearl?"
"Pearl and Amethyst have a job to do."
"Inside the temple?"
"They don't...require my assistance." She had swum through lava, and not even that could bring about the slight flush in her face.
"Aren't you afraid they might get into a fight...like they always do?"
"Yes." That is all the more she is willing to elaborate on even as Steven asks more questions about what kind of mission didn't need Garnet. Is it special? Could he have gone? To which she speaks up far too quickly and tells him no. That his, assistance, wouldn't have been required, this fact quiets the boy, who pinches the sand. Rubbing the grains between his fingers and sprinkles them at his feet.
"Next time Steven. We can all go." She knows it's not satisfactory, knows it wasn't the right choice, but there's no way to go back and fix it. The best option was to move on quickly.
"O-kay." Grumbling under his breath and drawing his legs close, Steven slings an arm around them to keep them pressed against the gem in his belly. He uses his free hand to fix the flag which had begun to slump. It wouldn't stay still so he planted it in another spot, but then that side began to collapse. Steven grumbled and left the flag hanging sideways. Scooting back on the blanket to lie down, he faced away from the woman in the chair.
Garnet scrapped her palms, the only sign she was tense. Ruby and sapphire gems fitting oddly, yet comfortably, they danced around another. The gems even gave a soft imperceptible ring. Soon after they stilled and were at her side again.
Steven was fumbling with his waist again. Shirt hiked up. If she were to pry now it would most likely not end well from some of the choices she foresaw. Almost all of them; one did present itself. A small choice, but she didn't know what to do, or say, to make it to that option. Confusion wasn't a thing Garnet responded well to. Usually when she was confused she'd smash it, that way there was nothing to be confused about anymore.
Fingers, the skin of which was a cerise color, touch the soft curly hair at the back of the Childs head. Steven stilled touching his gem. One eye, a wonderfully bright ruby red, the other a beautiful sapphire blue, and the third eye in the center of her forehead was a purplish mix in between; all three vulnerable without the protection of the polarized sunglasses. The boy turned over and Garnet began to brush the side of his head. With a gentled ease, her strong hand played with his hair.
That smile was all she needed to know that she had found the route to that small little path of goodness, "Amethyst and Pearl should be coming out of the temple soon." Taking the decision out of her hands she knew the choice Steven would make.
Rising onto wobbly legs that had fallen asleep, Steven began to wrestle the umbrella out of the sand. Bending the pole painfully while digging at the sand with the heel of his foot, the blanket was carelessly stepped upon and dirtied as he struggled.
The chair had been snapped close with ease and tucked underneath Garnets arm. Full of patience, the woman waited till Steven freed his umbrella. Letting him accomplish the task by himself while she stared at the sandy beach to his right, there were holes that hadn't been filled from their...activities. Most of them weren't their fault, only the result of their missions. Still, Steven could fall into some of the deeper ones and seriously twist an ankle. She would clean them up later when Steven was sleeping.
Having gotten the umbrella unstuck Steven wiped his brow, "Phew, alright. I'm ready to head back now." Tugging the blanket and throwing all the sand over Garnet. It stuck to her tight bodysuit. She dusted her thighs and shook her hair yet still some was stuck in her afro.
They walked up the twisting trail to the stairs. Chair and umbrella were left on the porch. Garnet took the blanket and shook it out. The wire door creaked as Steven went inside first, while Garnet lay the blanket across the banister of the deck.
A sharp conical nose withdrew from a purple cheek. The room grew quiet when Steven walked across the wide open room to sit on a stool at the counter. Long legs leaned a thin body back from the counter. Busying her hands with a tomato the woman picked up a knife and began to cut hurriedly; eyes fumble nervously.
"So, how was your day with Garnet?" The gem in the middle of her forehead, a milky white ovular pearl just as her namesake, glinted in the overhead lights of the kitchen. Turquoise sash flowing with her movements as she turned to place the used knife in the sink, she then took a butter knife out of the drawer to spread the mayo. A nice healthy amount, just how she knew Steven liked it. Some cheese, the meat, and mustard.
"It was so much fun Pearl! Garnet and I just hung out on the beach. I played in the ocean, built a sand temple. I should show it to you before the tide comes in-oh, don't forget the pickles."
A high pitched chuckle, "I won't." Pearl hummed as she went to the fridge, her long legs taking elegant strides. All the gems movements were well choreographed, from how her hands placed the pickles, to how the bread was laid with care. Cutting it in half, and not fourths, because Steven was a big boy now and didn't think it was manly if you couldn't hold your sandwich for more than a bite.
"It sounds like you had a fun day." Pearl said, as she set the plate down on the counter so the sandwich sat squarely with the seat.
Steven spun himself in his stool, picking up a half and biting into it. Crumbs went flying across the counter, the floor, and onto a bare plum colored shoulder. Fat fingers didn't lift to wipe off the mess, but bluish green ones did. Pearl wiped the food from Amethyst shoulder. Who did not acknowledge the kind gesture except to turn the shoulder towards Pearl in a cold way. Long light purplish mane whisking the bottom rung of the stool that her own feet were too short to reach.
With a mouth full Steven asked, "So what did you guys do? Garnet said you and Amethyst were inside the temple. Why didn't you guys come out to play with us? What was this mission you guys had to do?"
The hand on Amethysts shoulder withdrew quickly, and began fumbling with the other as Pearl stuttered with a bit more darkness to her cheeks.
"Steven," a call from the door as it opened then closed, and Garnet came up to the counter and took stock of how flustered Pearl had become, and how oddly quiet Amethyst was being, "eat yo'r sandwich."
The boy took another bite, "I'm just asking what they were up too. Aren't you curious at all Garnet?" A piece of tomato fell out of the bread and landed with a squish on the floor. Pearl jumped on the mess immediately; on hands a knees with a paper towel.
"I am." The gem admitted.
A loud thud, Pearl came above the counter massaging the back of her scalp. Peach colored hair was cut into a pointed pixie cut in the opposite direction of her nose.
"Well, I'll tell you what happened."
Bare shoulders stiffened as they threw the scrap of tomato within the napkin in the trashcan. Flat pumps made not a squeak as they twirled the lithe body around. Pearl leveled a heavy frown at the full lips set in a wicked grin. Hair that covered the eye on the left side of Amethyst's face was pulled aside.
"Wha-what happened to your eye Amethyst? It's all red-were you crying?"
"Noooaa." Her voice shrilled, "Geez I'm not some crybaby like you."
"Hey, I don't cry...that much."
Pearl stepped into the conversation, "It's okay to be emotional. Your mother was the same way. She cared deeply for all things. It was one of her most redeeming qualities." The tip of her nose stuck herself in the chest as she nodded in remembrance.
Amethyst gave a haughty huff, "Rose was a big baby too. Just like you Steven."
"I'm not a baby-I'm a man." The boy pounds his chest with vigor, the act of which made him cringe and rub the spot. "Ow."
Amethyst laughs when she sees that there is water in the boy's eyes. Pointing at the moisture she laughs, invading his personal space allowing Steven to sample the nice fragrant smell of all the foods she had eaten over the past week. The boy turns away and pinches his nose while fanning the air.
"Geez Amethyst, even I brush my teeth four times a week."
"Hey," the heavyset gem banged a hand on the counter as she roared at the boy only an inch or two shorter than her, "I brush, you don't scrub your pits when you're in the bath."
"H-h-how do you know that." Hands defensively cupped the underside of his arms.
The plum colored woman copies the boys earlier infuriating gesture and waves a hand in front of her nose, "believe me, I know. Maybe if you didn't spend the whole time singing to your toys and spent a little more time using the soap then mayybeee..."
"You can hear me?" His cheeks grow rosy as he looked to Pearl, the woman looks away nervously, afraid to say anything.
Garnet shrugs, "You have a lovely singing voice." Her words try to be encouraging.
It sends the boy into a humiliated spiral as he clutches his head and covers his face in shame. He groans in his stool and twists away to bang his forehead against the counter. It hits the plate and upends the sandwich onto his head. Mayo is stuck in his curly hair. A perfect slice of tomato fly's when he suddenly sits up. The plate is snatched mere inches from the ground by Pearl's quick reflexes. She drums uncertainly on the plate as she holds it close to her chest.
As he folds further into the chair in embarrassment Steven spoke through his legs, "there not toys Amethyst there my bath time buddies and are conducive to helping young children make sure there clean. Remington Quakers is filled with soap to wash my body,"
"You miss some spots." Amethyst chimed in.
"And Reginald Turtle supplies the shampoo-you know to keep my dew funky fresh and all that jazz." The curls of hair bounce when he rubs them.
"Keep 'at flow going." Garnet agreed with a nod. The woman drew nearer and laid a hand on the boys head. Steven beamed.
"Yeah, and that should go the same for you two." Gesturing between the other two gems in the room, "when you don't get along, it messes up the funky flow of the team...and I don't like it when you guys fight neither."
Plump lips pursed devilishly tight, "Oh we weren't fiiiigh-ting, don't worry about that Stev-en. Everything is hunky dory between us. Isn't that right, Pearl?" The wink went right over the boys head, for he had already turned to the lithe gem.
Hands locked painfully together. The gem being's brow began to sweat.
"Well, then what happened to your eye?" Steven looked between the two; an eyebrow inched up his forehead, "did you fall on something in your room?"
Amethyst huffed angrily, "we weren't in my room. My rooms to dirty."
"Yes that mess is completely unsuitable for..." words evaporated as Pearl's mind caught up to her.
"Wrestling!" Amethyst flexed her arms around an invisible head as she grappled it.
"No! no-no, no-no. We weren't wrestling-Steven. Amethyst simply poked her eye." Pearl had taken the plate and set it down on the recess behind the counter the boy sat at. There were a few crumbs left on the plate that Amethyst greedily threw herself over the counter for, wiping them up with her thumb, and then sucked them greedily off the digit.
"But on what?"
Amethyst panted as she laughed at the question, "Hahahaha, something pointy." A finger reached out to poke the other gems nose. It was vehemently slapped away.
"Like one of Pearls swords!" Hands planted themselves on the counter as Steven pulled himself up.
Pearl reacts crazily to the boy's excitement, "Steven that's dangerous, sit down before you hurt yourself." A hand lays itself against her chest, strong fingers dig, twist; maybe even try to tickle the spot a little. Whatever the intention Amethyst holds her back from tugging Steven into his seat.
With delicious pleasure taken, Amethyst whispers close to Pearls ear, "Back that schnozz up before you poke me again." Oh, how those lips playfully quirked when they saw the color flow, turning cheeks a pleasant cornflower blue. Amethyst reaches out unknowingly and tries to touch them, to feel the warmth that was pooling there.
Pearl backs away to a moderate distance. More than what was actually necessary as she hits the drawers opposite the counter, far out of reach from the other gem. Palms touch the wood to keep her steady. Fingers curl and dig hard enough into the underside to leave marks. That saucy gaze was to blame.
A graceful twirl that ended with her stomach hitting the counter, Pearl made an about face and turned on the faucet. Applying a grotesquely large amount of soap to the sponge, she began to clean the dishes. Shoulders stiff and feet planted with the heels facing inward.
"Well, I'm glad you two are getting along. Maybe you should take some time out for just the two of you guys more often?" Steven watches the gem as she crawls back over the counter. The salt and pepper shakers knocked over, a baker with a white hat and his pig roll on the counter and spill there insides everywhere.
Pearl does not react. The water continues to flow steadily, yet lightly so as not to splash the edge of the sink. She scrubs and scrubs the same spot that is already sparkling clean.
Her footfalls are heavy for such light footwear; Garnet sweeps her hand over the counter and brushes the spilled mess into her other hand. The ruby gem in her palm glitters under the black and white grains. Garnet walks over to the trashcan and dusts off her hands.
"You know what; you're so right Ste-ven! We should so do that-what do you say Pearlllll." The L rolls to long. Way to long. It sounds heated and sultry; far too inappropriate around such an impressionable young mind.
The knife clatters loudly, Stevens's shoulders jump. Pearl turns, face stretched wide. Lips twisted into a smile.
"That's very thoughtful of you Steven, but we always have so much to do. What with missions, and I wouldn't want you to feel neglected...a-um," the scowl was deep, Amethyst had turned her head, the blood shot eye was slowly losing its redness. Pearl sighed, the plum colored hand tried to run away when she laid hers overtop it, "I value anytime I get to spend with you."
Slowly Amethyst turned, teeth swelling her bottom lip as they bit hard. The picture of innocence until that mouth opened up, "Awwww, you're so sweet Pearl. Come here and give me a smooch."
"Amethyst!" Pearl placed a hand over the others mouth and held it there. The pair struggled as Amethyst tried to come over the counter. Grabby hands latched onto the tight tunic, pulled and twisted the material about in her strong hands attempting to bring the two of them into an uncomfortably close position for their current quests.
"Guys, guys," Steven shouts trying to wedge his words rather than his hands between the skirmish.
Like the rumbling of boulders crashing to the ground, the throat that clears is loud and quickly puts a stop to the ruckus. Arms folded, Garnets shades gleam at both the gems. She can see the thankful sigh Steven gives when Amethyst finally lets go. Pearls loose neckline shows only a small sliver of skin just under her clavicle. It is enough though, to make Pearl cover a hand over the spot.
Amethyst harrumphs and rolls her eyes at the gesture. "Prude." Careful to mutter the words under her breath, lest she get herself into more trouble; not that she would have cared, it's just that she didn't want to get a stern talking too for her language. The air catches in her throat when she sees the blush on Pearls face. Maybe she hadn't spoken as low as she had thought? As she sits her behind on the counter, short legs bang hard against the cabinet door, hand ruffling her mane of hair as she fixes it into a mess. Lips rub together with a wet puttering sound.
Pearl crosses her thin arms over her chest. Nose pointed downward. A glare to match the displeasure she felt.
"Come on guys, you were getting along so well." Steven sits on his knees. A stubby chubby finger rubs the smooth wood. "Why do you guys always have to do this, you start out great then you both just fall apart."
"S'not me!" Amethyst spoke up as she looked over her shoulder.
"It is the both of 'u."
Pearl disagreed, "Garnet, how could you think this was my fault?" The gem was a gasp, with eyelids fluttering wildly. Pearl pointed a finger accusingly at Amethyst who rolled her eyes and gave the tip of which a nip, "Ouch,-Amethyst! See it's not me; she's the one who always instigates everything. Not me. Her actions, her inappropriate comments..."
"That's it!" Steven jumped, and near spun himself from the chair, but instead the boy fell into Garnets forearm and steadied himself with it as he stood up on the chair. A little less imposing when his hands were gripping the gems arm shakily as he tried to keep from spinning about when he addressed the pair.
"Pearl, what if Amethyst said something nice about you?"
"Whaaat-are you talking about. I'm always saying nice things about Pearl. Really Steven, you know I do. It's not my fault she can't take a compliment." A shoulder rolled the strap of her dark mauve tunic off, it slid below her arm pit, the black strap of her bra shown in contrast to the odd hue of her skin. When Pearl tried to reach and pull the strap back up she thought better. Steven did not pick up on this, but Garnet saw the way the shoulder tightened. Amethyst blew at the hair in her face and left the strap alone.
"Steven is right. But both of 'u should say something nice 'bout thee 'ther." Stoic and intimidating, with no hint of emotion from those full lips. Garnet stood next to Steven as the boy held onto her.
"I shouldn't have to say anything." Pearl began, "What exactly did I start here?"
"Don' be so difficult Perl." Level toned Garnet shook out the fingers on the arm not supporting Steven. They flexed and wiggled like worms on the end of a hook before they danced in Stevens' hair as they tried to sooth the Childs worry. She had felt his grip tighten.
Under the lights in the kitchen Pearl grew nervous. Hands fumbling, and fingers twisting painfully around each other till they were knotted. "I-I-ii-I'm not being difficult Garnet."
"Yes, 'u are. Why can't 'u say somethin nice 'bout Ametyst?"
"Because she can't think of anything." Hands slapped the counter; Amethyst stared at the other gem, who wilted under the glare. All three of them were giving Pearl some look or another.
"I can-I have plenty of nice things I can say." The pompous tone returned and she grew braver; as she spoke, Pearl pointed herself skyward.
"So why don't you say them?" Whether this was addressing things in the past, or present, Pearl could not know. She did however, feel her mind slip.
"You go first. If we both have to pay the other a compliment then you should be the one to say something first. You did start this."
"Fine!" Amethyst harrumphed as she raised her gaze to challenge the others. "Come here." She tried to wave Pearl over.
"Why?" Nervous, Pearl tried to back further into the cabinets.
"Because I'm not going to be hurling compliments at you when you're over there. I want you here." A plump finger pointed to the ground her feet dangled over. It twitched in a way that seemed to beg the other to come. Which slowly, Pearl shuffled her flats across the floor. "That's better." Amethyst gave Steven and Garnet a wink and a wet tongue, with legs planted on either side of those wide frightened eyes met with a smile which grew larger and more freighting.
What is she going to say? Pearl fretted a nervous flicker between the gem in front of her and the others behind them; who had gone eerily quiet. Steven stood on the stool his arms had moved to Garnets bicep. Tiny fingers left marks in the elasticity of her bodysuit.
"There, stay right there." Amethyst shuffled her bottom forward till she had tucked herself close, intimately close, Pearl could feel the others touch crawl over her flesh. Secretly, out of sight of young eyes she had hoped, but this was Amethyst and the gem couldn't hold a secret for ten minutes.
"I'll get this started then," the gem's lip twitched in such a way that Pearl tried to inch away only to find the others short legs digging into her back. They had somehow tied themselves around her without her knowledge. Pearl swallowed the limp in her throat. It went down no better than the human food she detested so. The feet on her back dug in as Amethyst squirmed on the counter. It forced the standing gem to place her hands on the counter and lean over the other. They were close. Well enough to cause discomfort for Pearl, whose long pointed nose was the only thing keeping them apart.
"Come on you guys, we don't have all day." Steven butted into the pairs thoughts with an agitated start, there were plenty of other things he wanted to do besides be the arbitrator for Pearl and Amethyst's squabble. Light was beginning to wan. The sounds of the ocean diminishing with it, for soon the seagulls would go to sleep, and the crabs would come out onto the beach to take a break from the sea floor and catch a breath. He also had a level to finish, and a comic too before bed. He gestured for them to continue.
Big purplish eyes held onto Pearl's own light blue. All that Pearl could see was mischief.
"I guess you would say that the thing I like most about Pearl is...her BUTT! Wamp-wamp." Loud enough to shake the front door, Pearl tried to jump away when those hands gave her backside a spine tingling couple of spanks.
Her nose seemed to cut the air as Pearl shook her head vehemently. "That is not what one would consider a compliment. Nor is it appropriate talk in front of Steven!" Teeth ground inside her head and made an awfully loud racket in the quiet of the room.
Plump plum colored cheeks tucked her chin onto the gem in the middle of Amethyst's chest. The other withdrew her hands and hid them behind her back where they fiddled with one another. The nail of her thumb, which had been chewed jagged by nerves, tingled when it grazed the underside of her palm. Those downturned eyes almost looked regretful, and maybe they were, but Steven couldn't see them. All he wanted was to keep them going.
"Pearl, it's your turn now to say something nice." The boy urged with his small hands palpitating the air in the hopes to keep the ball rolling.
Lips stumbled and fluttered over words. Um's and ah's, nothing useful was available in Pearls brain. She swept a hand over the back of her head. Her hair bounced when the fingers flicked the ends. Feet stumbled and she was reminded that the others legs hadn't let her go. They seemed to of gotten tighter when Pearl had moved, as if the other thought that the gem was going to try to run away. She must really want to know, Pearl lamented.
"Amethyst," Pearl said as she laid a hand on either side of the gems head. Felt the muscles twitch in those large shoulders. "I think of you-no, I know you are a valuable member of this team."
""U can say something betta more than that Perl." Her shades winked as Garnet adjusted them, a slight frown on her puffy lips. It made Pearl shiver the way the words were spoken without the usual warm undertones the taller gems voice carried.
There came an agreement from the warm body clinging to Pearl, "Yeah, don't be so forward." Legs locked tighter as the heels of Amethysts shoes dug into Pearls hips. The unpleasant pressure mirrored the sour expression on those plump lips.
Though the fingers trembled, they still laid themselves on the others cheek. Pearl felt it swell when Amethyst drew a breath making Pearls hand jitter more. The way those eyes sparkled; all the mischief lost. Pearls nails were nice and tidily trimmed to the appropriate length. They grazed skin and made it swell with color. Making lips part. Amethyst's breath was warm, smelly, and unpleasant to Pearls nose. The long point crinkled in disgust even as she smiled, making her sneer.
Steven watched the exchange. Confused by the way Pearl touched Amethyst. He had never seen the gem show such...concern? Or was it more closely to affection? For the other person that is, at least, around him. A young mind with little experience had no way of knowing though. Cheeks heated when he saw the way Amethyst leaned a little closer. Enough so the tip of Pearls nose scrapped along her so it rested just below Amethysts reddened eye.
A dour expression, Garnet knew Pearl only needed time. There was an urge in her head to let out a grunt and move them along, but she also knew that it didn't work to push Pearl, the gem was confident in what she knew, and Pearl did know a lot more than any of them. Knowledge, however, only went so far. When it came to...relationships, Steven was more in tune with the funky flow than Pearl.
A light flush, parted lips, and teeth sucked back to keep them from clinking shut and keep her from speaking, "You're not so annoying-all the time." The words might as well of been a declaration in front of everyone.
"Awwww, that's about the closest thing to a proposal I'll ever get. Thank you, P." Amethyst rested her hand on Pearls. Small but meaty it dwarfed the others. She gave it a squeeze. The warmth was pleasant for the both of them. Even if it did make Pearl fidgety, as she tried to subtract her hand away, yet found she didn't have the strength when looking into those eyes.
"Now make up." The glint and lips were downright lewd.
"We just did, G. That's about as made up as Pearly-bird can get." Amethyst didn't take her eyes away from Pearls; keeping the contact on her cheek ever present. As Pearl had said, and with Steven always needing a babysitter, there time together was limited.
"Oh! Oh Garnet nooo. Please, there's no need for that, what about..." Pearl glanced over Amethyst's shoulder. Bright curiosity met her. Fixated, or maybe not so much from the way the conversation was lulling too much for his taste. Hands drummed on the stool under his rump as Steven hummed a little; the tempo off as usually was the case with many of his father's songs. His eyes had strayed slightly to the right. Eyeing the freezer that held that nights frozen treat. Pearl had found the recipe on the computers in the Beach City library. Simple to look up, harder to recreate when one needed to taste test the finished product. As Pearl dreaded sticking any earth organics in her mouth, let alone allowing it to pass through her, she had need of a tester. Someone very willingly volunteered and ate the entire first batch of homemade cookie cats. Amethyst almost ate the second batch if Pearl hadn't defended it with the wooden spoon, stabbing the short gem in the head to fend her off. Amethyst was luckily only able to get away with three of them.
A whisper, so light and unusually quiet, as if it actually didn't want to be heard, "Come on P, just do it to get the ball and chain off our backs. I'll try not to enjoy it too much if you don't." That wide smile was so off putting. Too much happiness put into a single, and simple, gesture of features.
Pearl chuckled, under her breath. She saw that Steven's eyes were still glued to the fridge. So...quickly, Pearl leaned in to place a very chaste kiss on the others cheek.
"YES! Steven, what is it?" Pearl hoped that Amethyst's large nest of hair could hide her face.
"Can I have my snack now?" The boy tried to peek around Amethyst but Pearl curled her face into that large mane of hair. It felt course, unwashed, and a bit sticky from sweat. Unpleasant to her nose, yet comforting when she took a whiff and found she sort of enjoyed this smell.
Pearl broke with a struggle out of Amethysts hold. Quickly going to the fridge and opening the freezer. The chill raised the hairs on her forearm when she reaches in and took out one of the cat shaped sandwiches off the plate. She took another plate from the cabinet and set both down on the counter.
"Heeeya, don't I get one?" Throwing up a fuss Amethyst crawled on the counter towards the plate. Steven snatched his treat away and gobbled it up in less than three bites. He soon howled and clutched his head.
"Brain-freeze!" He cried loud and wailing, digging into that fine curly hair atop his head.
With no grace of hand Pearl pushed Amethyst out of the way. The short gem slide effortlessly off the counter with a shout, "there, there it's ok Steven. It will pass." Laying her hand into those soft curls Pearl scratched the child's scalp hoping to ease his suffering.
Amethyst arose stretching her chin to rest on the counter. Propping herself on her tippy-toes to reach, "Don't worry about me. I'm fine." She spoke nasally, her teeth clicked painfully as her jaw bounced. Mad and hurt from being tossed aside.
As Pearl assuaged Steven's menial pain, she let her other hand swipe ever so quickly along the top of Amethysts head. The unruly hair pushed ever so slightly into a tamer manner before her hand was gone; and all of Pearls attention was back to the young boy helping him to unfreeze his brain.
Amethyst grinned goofily.
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