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Goodbye Summer

By Sanomo

Romance / Humor

Goodbye Summer

Round as a pebble worn in a river, yet flexible, with flaring nostrils to fill a heavy chest, no noise or whistles, not even soft breathes from an open mouth. Tongue nested behind her teeth like a ship in the dock for repairs. The lovely yet untamable hair was a blanket over thick shoulders, rounded with a lot of meat on them. Sausage fingers linked over a protruding belly. The low cut neck on her tunic revealed a large and shiny gem beneath her collar bone; a more vibrant plum purple than her skin, with more shine as well. A short leg having strayed off the blanket and out of the cover of the umbrella began to warm, tickling and stimulating the muscles and causing it to kick the sand.

With a long slender body all rolled up, knees were drawn tightly, arms wrapped around her torso. The other woman, whose skin was pale blue, nudged her forehead ever so slightly against the top of her partners head; prominent nose stitching hair like a needle in silk. Sash tied in a bow larger than her waist was bunched up. A tinge to her cheeks happened when a meaty hand wandered over. Knuckles so forcibly dragged across the exposed skin of a shin. Rough and cracked with little care taken in their maintenance. Yet the feeling was...special, and familiar to the thin woman. It evoked a satisfaction, a feeling of warmth, even warmer than the beach around them, out here on a hot summer's day in beginning days of September. The last before the weather cools. Before Beach city goes into hibernation. Funlands arcade will shut its shutters and seal away all the noise and colorful lights. Its dangerous rides will sleep through winter. Even Greg will have to find work to supplement the car wash. He's had his son help make fliers advertising guitar lessons, yet has drummed up only a single student so far.

For now though, there is not a breeze, and the clouds cover the sky like a carpet. Thick and fuzzy and keeping the deepest of sunlight from touching them; but sunscreen was still a must. Poor burned faces-although a delight to dab soothing ointment on in a doting manner-made little boys grumpy, and grumpiness was not rewarded with desert. At least in front of the others. At night the blue gem would sneak him some in his bed.

Speaking of sun burnt little boys with their bubbly cheeks so full of rosy life, his soft belly, of which, a great big gem is nestled in the center and jiggled as he tried to walk through the soft sand. Those stout legs tuckered out from a long day of play; yet all her felt he needed was a quick drink to refresh then back into the ocean with Garnet. The impossibly tall woman was knee deep in the surf, still as a statue, even as the rough waves thrashed the backs of her calves. A glint from her shades was like a signal light from a buoy at night. It winked at the boy on the shore as he made his way to the umbrella. When he saw the two gems all snug, he stopped. Head tilting to the side as his face lit up. The young boy crouched lower as if he intended to sneak his way towards the impossibly large blanket under the cover of the few sticks and seashells that had washed upon the shore. Careful where he stepped, afraid to hurt his feet on broken seashells which would lead to being fussed over by Pearl, the boy crept closer, then closer still, paying particular attention to the smaller gem; who could be very agitated if woken prematurely. She might throw him into the water.

Laid with care on their blanket (because sharing was always a must), and well away from Amethyst, was his cell phone; a very special gift from his dad when Steven was younger, in case the boy ever got lonely and needed to talk. Steven still used it for that; even if he was such a grown-up now. For when his dad was too busy to pick him up-the faint sound of water splashing and the grinding machines as they polished cars to a waxy shine was heard through the speaker- as son filled his father in on all the cool magical gem things he got to do that day. There was always a gasp when Greg thought something sounded particularly dangerous. Steven thought of lying, but then his father would be mad, and the gems would be mad, and Steven didn't want anyone to be mad at him for telling a fib. Cause he could, fib that is, very well. Even if only thinking of doing it made his forehead sweat; but Steven thought it was from playing with Garnet.

Steven flipped the phone open, checking to see if he had any messages from his dad or Connie. Connie had sent him a link to a video he'd check out later. For now, a chance to capture something rarely seen was at hand. Every click of a button gave a small beep as he selected the camera. A small grainy frame popped into the phones window, reflecting the scene behind the phone in fuzzy and sluggish detail as he frames the photo.

Amethysts much meatier hand had strayed further up Pearls leg. Gripping a delicate thigh, those sand paper calluses were rough where they rubbed. The effect it had on the gem reflected in the phones tiny camera, as Pearl wore a grumpy frown.

That's not going to make a good picture, Steven moved closer while looking through the lens. Watching as his hand crossed into frame to move Amethysts heavy hand to a more comfortable place, Pearls lap, where it seemed to of known that Pearls hand was close by, seeking it out and stitching their digits together. Pearls lips pulled like the tide, rising above the fault line of her mouth.

Legs working hard on the uneven sand to steady the shot, Steven smiled behind the shield of the camera as his thumb readied to capture the moment.

"You know, it's rude to take pictures of people without their permission, Steven."

With a startled cry the boy presses the button and the phone gives a sharp click as it tumbles out of his hand. A small speckle of light escapes before the phone sinks into the sand.

"Oh, umm, hey Pearl. Did you enjoy your nap?"

"I wasn't napping." Tone crisp and hiding her shrewdness, her smile grew sweeter.

Any other words become sucked from Steven's mouth as he picks up his phone. Smacking the plastic device against his palm; fine particles wedged between the keys which causes the child to let loose a mild groan when he hears a shifting inside the device. Oh great, was the grumble jiggling around inside his noggin.

"Steven, did you ruin your phone?" Pearl asks, as she saw the Childs face elongate in horror.

Steven stumbled and quickly shut the screen, "I-ah-everything's fine. Ha-ha-ho-it's just a bit sandy. Um-actually, I got a text from Connie." He said sliding his hands behind his back, the phone gripped tightly in his palm. "She uh, sent me something." When the young boy thought of his friend his cheeks warmed. Steven wanted to see her again, even if his stomach churned its hardest when she was close by. "Hey, Pearl. Do you think it's ok if I invite Connie over tomorrow?"

That sharp chin dipped downward and touched Pearls chest in contemplation, "I'm not sure...we should probably ask Garnet first, we may have a mission. Unless, you'd rather play with Connie?" The question drew a reaction from Steven, who wobbled in place while waving his hands in front of him as if trying to stop a charging bull from coming his way.

"No, I'll go-you know, if we have to. Your right, we should probably ask Garnet. I can text Connie later." Pulling the phone out from behind his back, felling it jitter like a maraca, Steven went to the foot of the blanket and set it back down. Safe from the sand, and, to keep his own wet behind from getting any stuck to it, he took a seat as well.

Even behind the shade of the clouds the sun could still reach them. Without shade Steven found his flesh heating and the cool surf that clung to it evaporating. It felt like the pleasant heat of a really good Garnet hug; she knows how to give the good ones, Steven thought. His eyes closed, Steven propped himself on his arms as he leaned back to soak it all in. A gentle and childish sigh, drawn to the length of a Chellos bow; the sound simply drifted away.

Across the beach and out to sea Stevens sigh journeyed, but not before crossing over some sensitive ears, even with all that course padding around them. Her square set hair was firm yet dampened by the humidity of the ocean spray; she walked through the pushing water with ease. Head bowed to stare into the shallow depths, seeing crabs scuttle out of her way, admiring the seashells as they crunched under her feet. Thoughts streamed; most were her own, but every once in a while, something from the other two would pop in. Maybe a wire crossed, or they were speaking to loudly. Garnet picked up pieces of Ruby and Sapphire, a conversation on a completely emotional level. It was the feeling of words that Garnet received, not, what was actually said. Sometimes it bleeds into her own emotions. Sometimes it fueled them. Makes her act...unlike Garnet, and more like either of the other two. Then again, aren't we all a sum of our parents?

A particularly large swell crashed, yet Garnet stood firm and the water decided it easier to part around her. The gem looked out towards the vast greenish-blue ocean, searching, for any sign of either of them. They can't elude us much longer. After all, who was the only person on this planet that could say they had actually explored almost the entire ocean, certainly no one who had actually been born on planet. Amethyst, is like a drowned rat in the sea. Pearl doesn't want to get wet. That brought a slow and slight smile. Thick lips managed to open ever so much for a chuckle to slip; promptly swallowed by a mat of bubbles surrounding her legs.

Eyes always sharp saw the way Garnet smiled, and it brought solace to see the gem happy; it always did for Pearl. Garnet was always so quiet and reserved. Always inside her own head. So when Pearl saw these moments, it brought her joy by proxy. Pearl looked down and found it was Amethysts hand which she was holding onto so tightly. The gem gave it another squeeze before relaxing her hold.

"This was a lovely idea, Steven." The gem whispered above the sound of the surf.

Pearl watched the back of his head tilt, his voice laced with a happy smile as he laughed, his small back convulsed as the air was forcibly expelled from his lungs. Skin so soft, so easily scratched. How he skinned his knees so much as a child. Nothing ever so frightening as that first time when she saw him bleed. A small scratch. Yet the blood ran down his leg. Tinted his socks a soft pink (she had thrown them out after she found she was unable to get them white again). Sticky on her hands and so hard to scrub away, it was a piece of Steven after all. Shouldn't he need it back? Greg said no, but Pearl wasn't so inclined to follow his advice. Pearl had been careful not to let it be rubbed off or washed away for a whole week. No matter how much she was told by Garnet, or Amethyst (who ribbed her the whole time by making noises of repulsion. Really? Her being repulsed was laughable). The only reason why, why Pearl had finally, and reluctantly, let that piece of him go, was because of Steven. Wide eyed and worried, when he finally saw her again (because at the time he had still been living with Greg) and thinking that she had been hurt. The gem had chased the boy all the way to the boardwalk were he had begged one of the shops for the ice. When Steven had taken her hand and put the ice, wrapped clumsily in a napkin over the spot, oh yes, gems didn't feel temperature like humans did, but Pearl did admit, at least to herself (and maybe gushed to Amethyst), she had felt quite a bit of warmth from the ice cube.

The tingling sensation still fresh, even now after so many seasons. Pearl found the thumb on her opposite hand, idly going over the spot as she held Amethyst. A grimacing face contorted by what Pearl hoped to not be gas. Then again, Amethyst had eaten an entire ice chest full of food; the ice included. To Pearls delight though, she found that if she rubbed the shorter gem between the brows it made the lines dissolve, and if that thumb strayed over a ripened cheek, it happened to raise the edge of a juicy (if Pearl could lower her vocabulary standards for a moment to help describe this) lip. When Pearl was done, the other gem looked much happier to be in her dreams, therefore, so was Pearl. A bit of what Steven might call the butterflies in her stomach (not that she ate, or would eat, a butterfly, they were very beautiful).

In the interim moment of silence, a screech filled the space as a group of seagulls landed. They pecked at a scrap of a candy wrapper, two of them tussled over the potential crumbs, but they found it to be empty. So their little webbed feet carried them quickly over the sandy terrain. Tiny triangular footprints left a trail. They, like a singular minded group, zeroed in on the only people on the beach. Black and beady, their little coal eyes followed the movement of their heads as they looked to Steven then at the space in front of them. The flock of seagulls gave a stir; a demand to be feed immediately.

With an apologetic shrug Steven explained to the birds, "Sorry guys, Amethyst ate everything." And not knowing what, or who, an Amethyst was, the birds gave another shriek. "I don't have anything." Steven held up his empty hands to show. His thick little fingers wiggled like dancing sausages...not that Pearl could ever eat them for real. He...enjoyed that game so much when he was little; even if Pearl didn't. But, you do it for him. Pearl found her unused arm outstretched off the blanket. Thumbing the sand and building a small mound.

"Steven, don't talk to them." Pearl said.

"Awww, there only hungry."

"They can find their own food. It's what they were made for. Don't pamper them."

"You pamper me." Steven's smile stood out like a pink elephant in a field of grass.

The flush that crept into pearls hollow cheeks could have been brighter than the lighthouse on the cliff behind them. "Yes, I am allowed to do that though." Sprinkling the sand between her fingers, then folding her dainty hands in her lap she tugged Amethysts over with her. Fiddles with the gems fingers; picking at the dirt beneath her finger nails.

"Because you love me?" Again Pearl was thinking of butterflies when Steven fluttered his lashes the gems way.

The air was punctured by a series of coo's, long and strung together like Christmas lights. Pearl's entire face turned blue. "Of course I love you." The words came muted, as she studied his young face. So handsome. Oh yes, he was. Steven had all of Rose's qualities. Such sweet and innocent perfection. Pearl enjoyed seeing that Stevens's hair had dried in the sun; its natural shape returned.

With some effort, Pearl heaved Amethyst off. Skinny legs slid around Steven as Pearl tucked herself close. Shallow chest pressed to his broadening back; only a few more years and he'd be bigger than her. Yet Steven would always be her baby. That was a fact solidified in the unwritten annals of their history. A boney arm tied about his waist, Pearl could feel the sharp cut of his gem against the physical nerves of her skin. It...was an all to familiar feeling, yet at the same time elicited an emotion more familial than when it had been Rose's gem.

Steven flushed when he felt Pearls fingers touch his scalp; massaging his hair. Even as the clouds parted ever so, casting stray beams across the sand and the surf, and as one happened to stray over them, it still couldn't warm Pearls gem as much as holding onto her Steven. When he giggled, oh how splendid it was, the gem felt her forehead ready to pop like an overfilled balloon. The back of her sharp pixie cut edged the air like a shark fin sliding out of the water, as Pearl sunk her face into Stevens thick black curls; no caution taken to prevent her nose from tangling within.

The surf crashed and dribbled its way onto the shore, pulling at the sand as it receded. Through the clouds could be seen a big orange sun begin to turn a dusty purple.

Garnet made her way out; everything below the knee wet as a stone in a river.

Behind the pair on the towel came a sputtering, as lips expelled something unwanted; big and puffy with an engorged tongue, "Yo, why is my face in the sand." Came a shout mixed with the tiny minerals. On hands and knees she crawled like a toddler. Her large fingers sank deep and she kicked up sand clouds behind her like a dog digging for a bone. That wide face slowly lumped its way into their beautiful view. Amethysts pug nose flexed and a few grains of sand fell out. "P, you were suppose to keep an eye on me. What gives?"

The gem in question only raises a thin yet deceptively un-fragile brow; it is Steven who answers for her.

"Sorry Amethyst. I didn't mean to take Pearl from you." How the happiness gushed like an orange being wrung out.

Quick to forgive, at least Steven, Amethyst brushes her shaggy mane against the boy as she settles against one of Pearl thighs. Chubby forearm rubs its sandpapery flesh against that which was softer than silk (it was all the moisturizer Pearl used. Too much if you asked Amethyst, like grabbing hold of a slug). Amethyst struggled to keep her chin propped up with her hand, her elbow slipping off a couple of times. The frustration led to Amethyst taking a healthy chunk of faux flesh between finger and thumb and giving it a hearty twist.

A shriek like an eagle taking off in the mountains echoed louder than the noises of the ocean. Pearl flailed her elbows about wildly. One connected against a thick skull.

"Heeeya! Watch where you're flapping those wings."

Pearl's hair bristles as her cheeks flamed. "It was your fault." The gem accused, hands poised over the short gems hair, Pearls fingers tensed, ready to grab as much as she could and tug like an upset three year old. Amethyst rubbed her noggin unaware of the danger she was in.

"Guys, guys," Steven twisted at his trunk to look behind him. Yet before anymore words could make their way out the young boy noticed a large shadow looming; all three heads snapped to look at its owner.

Sand stuck to the bottoms of her feet; while being thick in the hips and chest gave a refreshing meaning to hourglass figure. Her left hand, the one with the sapphire gem in the palm, slipped through her downy hair. The action slow, sultry, and lasted longer than should have been considered decent in front of a young boy, Pearl grew quiet, cheeks splashed with color. Amethyst gave a cheesy smile and whistled. Knocking her knuckles into a shoulder of nothing but bone in a way she hoped to convey to the tall, usually perceptive gem, to take a hint that maybe she might enjoy something such as that done to her; if Pearl could get over her aversion to the mess that was Amethysts hair. A few tugs might be appreciated too.

Steven was swept off his feet. The boy giggled when he came to rest in that squishy square hair. He padded it like a kitten on a warm blanket. Settling his head into that soft comfort, Steven sighed as his eyes fluttered.

The horizon was darkening. Colors turned from bright hot to a dark cool tone. Even the waves seemed to lose their energy. They lapped with less vigor. Pushed a little less against the shore. All the seagulls began to move inland, to retire to their nests upon the cliff side where the giant statue of a goddess carefully cradled a small home in her lap; her solemn gaze forever ahead towards the endless ocean. Looking for danger? Or behold its consistent beauty?

Garnet reached above and gently touched Steven; giving the boys side a loving pat; and maybe, danced her fingers over his ribs to tickle him a bit, it was worth his laugh. Pearl joined them. Standing beside Garnet and wrapping one of her slender arms around the gems robust and muscular one. Her hold had lessoned through the years. Less clinging, more comfortable; it wasn't about looking for reassurance. The gem didn't need that from Garnet, not anymore. She was her own gem now.

Rising onto her toes Pearl reaches for Garnets head while still holding onto the gem, and gives Stevens shoulder a caring rub. She makes small circles with her fingers. Slow and even, Pearl stroked Steven the same way she always did since he was a baby, so tender and mild. Never much of a crier, a whimper, only, whilst he slept; that was easily remedied. Pearl could feel the little hairs rising, as the sky darkened and a chill chased the heat away.

A handful of sand was thrown at the back of Pearls leg, the gem in question glances over her shoulder and down at the short plum colored short stack sitting in the sand. Belly doubled over and a naughty tongue dangling out. Pearls pointed nose rests in the curve of her shoulder, a stiff lip kissing the soft material of her clothing. Yet Amethyst could see how agitated her eyes were. A slim and sinewy leg digs the ball of her heel into the sand; Pearl flicks it backwards sending a spray into Amethysts face. This action was meant to irritate, but Amethyst wore such a devilish grin as her tongue wiped off what had stuck; a loud swallow follows. Amethyst throws another handful of sand. Pearl turned away and tried to ignore as her flats were filled. A low grumble escaped, and Amethyst could see the tall gem rubbing her forearm in the cavity of Garnets arm like a stick trying to start a fire.

Amethysts fat bottom lip enveloped the other when she saw Garnet lay a hand overtop Pearls arm to still the gems movements. Amethyst pushed herself onto her feet. Not bothering to brush off any of the sand that still clung to her pants; nor clean out her itchy boots.

As the stars begin to come out, like a chef sprinkling salt onto his dish, a sleepy yawn rippled the serene air as Steven stuffed his fist in his mouth.

"I think it's time for a shower, then bed." Noted Pearl, who rubbed her own gem thoughtfully, Garnet stepped out of Pearls hold and pulled the wiggling kid off her head, cradling him to her chest, the boy gave a cry,

"I'm not tired yet." He mumbled, his blink slowing to a crawl.

A strong finger shushed his lips. Garnet gave a slight smile when she said, "Don't argue, Steven." To which the boy went silent and allowed himself to be carried away towards their unlit home.

Whether it was the sand covering her foot weighting her light body down, or her thoughts, Pearl stayed behind. Besides, Steven likes that Garnet gives him space when he showers. He doesn't like that I barge in. Even though Pearl only wanted to make sure Steven was cleaning himself properly, he always forgets to clean between his toes.

The gem folded her hands down her front while allowing the salty sea air into her senses. A chill went up her spin, not from the cooling breeze, but from a pair of fingers that walked up it. They only reached the middle of her back before the touch disappeared. Only to feel a thick arm grab hold; possessive and strong, molding herself to one of Pearls arms.

"Yo, P. Don't be gettin all gloomy on me." Said the gem with a toothy smile, who made her fingers dance against the tall gems flesh. Not a dance dance as Pearl put it. More something akin to Amethysts own It was hard, and a little painful, just enough though, without ever going overboard, before slowing to an agonizing, teasing, crawl, avoiding all the right spots by a fraction. Pearl's toes curl.

"I'm just...enjoying the moment, Amethyst." Pearl used her free arm to wrap itself around Amethyst. Their limbs becoming a tangled mess like vines on a garden fence after so many passing seasons; tightly bonded. At night came the stars. At night Pearl could make out all the constellations in this part of the galaxy. At night...Pearl could relive those moments of her time spent off planet, with Rose. But now, she was stuck, and now, she had Steven. She also had Amethyst. Pearl leaned awkwardly to the side. Draping her entire body over the shorter gem, who held her weight without the slightest hesitation, and not letting her fall on purpose and utterly ruin the moment; for that Pearl was grateful, no matter how tempting it may be.

With a breeze, came the shifting of the sand, in darkness it twisted and moved like a thousand snakes crawling on their soft bellies. Particles flew into the air, finding a home in a mouth. Pearl recoiled in disgust, blowing her lips while raking her fingers over her tongue to rid it of the little nuisances.

Amethyst doubled over her knees, heaving laughter as she watched the gem fuss.

Behind them the house lights flickered on, and shapes began to move inside. A tall one with a square head was going about shutting the windows. A few minutes passed before the chimney begins to puff. Small clouds journey up to the sky to join the rest of their extended family.

Eventually, the laughter did calm, the void it left filled with the gentle lapping of the waves; slow and steady and rhythmic. As she brushed the tears away Amethyst saw Pearls pensive pose, hands over her stomach, and the tilting of her beak nose downward. Glaring at the sand, even going so far as to scratch the tip of her flat through it, gauging a line as if to state that it wasn't suppose to be crossed, or else. An angry Pearl, was a funny Pearl; and, to Amethyst, also very hot.

Wedging herself between the other gem and the view; Amethyst settled a hand on a hip and the other under a chin. Grabbing hold with thick, strong, fingers, she gave a rough tug, forcing Pearl to meet her lips. An unrushed kiss, remarkably it was the one thing the short (not just in height but personality) gem could stay focused on. Pearl was always so chaste that it was hard to get her to open up, which included her mouth. However, with a bit of teasing, and nibbling, Amethyst got what she wanted when their came a rush of air that fills Pearls chest. A light blue hand grabbed the back of Amethysts tunic. No push or pull, Pearl just held on, letting Amethyst do whatever she desired. It felt so...wrong, the way the others touch negotiated her body; so indecent that a gem such as her would allow these vulgar things to be done to her.

When Amethyst got a little too hands-zeeeey as she liked to put it, about the time she slid her fingers into her sash exactly, did Pearl pull the other off till there was a few handfuls between their faces. Though not truly needing to breath, Pearl felt a dizzy feeling swarming her head such as the moon orbits the earth. A funny puckering mouth continued to go for a few seconds more after the kiss was finished. Even though her eyes were bulging and wide open, Amethyst didn't notice the kiss had come to an end until Pearl spoke up,

"That's enough." There was no malice, only a bit of a forceful command.

Amethyst closed her mouth and gave Pearl a solid wink, "Okie dokie artichokie." The gem giggled at her own joke; playful cheer worn as a mask to hide her intentions when Pearl felt the sinking pain in her rear end. Those unkempt jagged finger nails could have cut holes in the seat of Pearls pants if Amethyst dragged them the right way. Luckily, the gem simply let go, quickly, when she saw the angry blush creeping into those lovely pointed cheek bones.

On that last point, the mood was over; Amethyst definitely saw that by the way Pearl crossed her hands over her chest. So Amethyst left with the promise to see her inside.

Pearls hands fell at her sides as she stared out towards the ocean. Unguarded to the light of the moon, dampened by the clouds, yet still made the water sparkle. The waves rippled. Pearl rubbed her sore bottom.

His dew was the freshest it had been all day. No longer smelling of the sea, and the sand, that had been a stowaway, now speckled the drain of the bathtub. A pure white towel was wrapped tight as a turban around his head. The rubber soles of his onesie pajamas-a nostalgic gem blue with yellow diamond patterns repeating-rested on the coffee table while Steven grew comfy, and sleepy on the couch. The backs of his soft and pruned hands rubbed at his eyes. Nuzzling his chubby cheeks into his shoulder; the child was quiet. Then, as if hit by the shock of the game ending buzzer, Steven grabbed his phone off the coffee table. An adorable tongue rubbed his bottom lip, which receded behind a smile when he found what he was looking for. So loving and full of adoration that it was rather off putting when the context behind such a gesture was unknown.

The fridge shut with a cool wisp. Plates were only a bother-and no one liked that she had eaten a few-so Amethyst juggled her food in her meaty palms. The cold congealed sauce oozed through her fingers as Amethyst held a dozen or so meatballs in her left hand. Her right held onto an extra large helping of chocolate cake which was approximately three Steven portions worth. Amethyst swallowed the cake whole first, because she always believed in having her cake before dinner; even if Pearl tried to argue otherwise.

"Hey dude, wha'cha smirkin about?" Amethyst juggled the meatballs to her other hand, popping one in her mouth. The added chocolate frosting from her finger made for a flavorful experience. Her boots clicked on the wooden floors. A sharp noise coupled with the creaking of the shifting floor. A house on the beach wasn't practical, but Steven needed a proper home rather than some relic to live inside.

The light of his phone reflected in each of his eyes as Steven looked up as when Amethyst sat down. Her plump frame weighed on the cushion. Amethyst offered a meatball to Steven.

A kind shake of the head, "No thanks. Pearl said I shouldn't eat before bed. It could give me nightmares."

"Is that why all my dreams are so intense?" Amethyst thoughtfully asked the room, which responded back with the sound of the fridges chiller turning on, a thin buzzing hum.

"Amethyst, why would you think bad dreams are a good thing?"

A messy grin, colored dark brown by the frosting still uneaten between the gums, Amethyst said, "I don't know. Ya know, I thought it was because I'm so awe-sume."

Stevens fingers fiddled with his phone, "Dreams are suppose to be pleasant and fun. Not scare you."

"Who said I was scared!" Amethyst huffed as her hand closed up. Meat extruded through the cracks and fell onto the couch. Ever helpful even at the loss of his hair not being completely dry before bed-and even a little more puff than what he would of wanted-Steven set his towel down to mop up the mess, or, at least, hide it from Pearl till morning. In Stevens's opinion it was never good to go to bed angry. Even if Pearl didn't sleep.

A sharp crackle of the fire as a log splits from the heat, the smoke channeled up and out through the flume extending above their heads into the ceiling. Charred from the heat on the inside, the flames sizzled through the grate covering its round metal tummy. A heat washed over the two of them. Amethyst began to purr as she rubbed her tummy. Head sinking into her chest as the gem inched her feet further onto the coffee table; straddling the precipice between table and couch like a bridge. Steven copied, scooting closer till the pair knocked shoulders. Rubbing against the smaller boy Amethyst's eye began to droop, the other hidden behind a bang of hair. She did not stifle her yawn and simply let it be. Big and round and releasing a fine odor that intensified when baked by the heat of the fire.

Steven scrunched up his nose as he stuck his phone in front of Amethysts face.

"Yo, personal space." Amethyst said, as her fat hand batted the phone away.

"No look, it's a photo I took today." Steven urged.

With a splitting grin Amethyst asked, "Is it another one of you in a dress? Ha-HA! That was breath-taking. Pearl was gushing over you so much when you came home still wearing it. Oh-Oh, Steven, look at you. You're as beautiful as your mother." Amethyst added a few pitches to her voice to sound like the highest cords on a violin. "I'll tell you what though; you need a little more practice with lip stick. Bwahahahaha-yo-you looked like you had eaten more than you put on."

"She-uh, she showed me what I was doing wrong." The child became timid as he clasped his phone between his hands. A rosy blush creeping down his neckline. Oh yes, Pearl had shown him for three non-stop hours how to properly put on lipstick, and a whole other assortment of make-ups. It had been fun. It always was when Pearl explained things. And maybe, Steven hid his face between his arms, Connie might let him help her put her make-up on sometime. P-Pearl said I did a good job when I practiced on her, Steven thought inwardly about how the gems cheeks, layered in red blush, could still tint blue under it all. Eyelashes thicker than black licorice had blinked back tears of happiness. When she kissed him-Pearl held him tight enough to keep from getting away-she had left smudges of lipstick up and down his cheeks, like chalk outlines of the victim, Pearl marked her love all over Stevens face.

Steven rubbed his cheek in remembrance as Amethyst barked in laughter. Explaining to the young and naive child that Pearl looked similar to that time she had dressed like a clown for his birthday. "You knew it was her. I don't get why she thought you wouldn't, you were two." The gem explained the memory with fondness etched in her curving lips. Deep lines forming like the rivers of time, "I mean, I was smarter at that age..."

"That's because you're a gem..."

"...and so are you." Amethyst wrapped her arm around Stevens's neck and dragged the kid closer, knuckling his forehead, "So, what's this pic you got to show me if it isn't you out on the town?"

Instead of explaining, Steven just showed his phone to Amethyst.

"Look at that dork." How heavy a breath follows, not at all the usual jaunty lightheartedness, Amethyst's eyes had closed part way. The gem curled closer upon the boy as both bathed in the faint light of the screen. She laid her hand overtop Stevens to hold the phone closer, "Look at that schnoz." How the wink had been implied without having to look, as those fingers around Stevens shoulder held tighter. And how the scene settled after she pulled his head between her breasts. The top of his scalp rubbed against the bottom of her gem. Its sharp cut felt like a knife cuddling his head, but no matter, for Steven let out a deep shuttering yawn that shook him to his toes.

Closing his phone Steven set it down beside him. Amethyst pulled him closer-squeezing the towel between them, Steven felt the sauce and meat uncomfortably smug the underside of his clothed thigh, Amethysts body was warm, so Steven snuggled closer still. Hand pressed to a round belly. Like when we were younger, and you weren't bigger than a watermelon and you'd nap on my stomach by the front window as we got warmed up in the sunshine. It wasn't nostalgia that Amethyst felt about the memory. She only missed the moment itself. Even one of Greg's small shirts were still too big on you; they always made you trip. But you were a tuff runt. Just like me. Now pride was not a good enough word to describe how she felt about the baby waddling on top of her brain. Words weren't her thing anyway.

The fire crackled and the stars were dim when Amethyst looked out the front windows. Beyond the balcony sat the ocean. A silent, dark entity; so much mystery hidden within its depths that it made Amethysts toes shiver. Such blackish blue, and only the barest of transparence so very few days; what lies beneath it all? Something evil, something...similar. There came a pang in her gem, a pang of regret, or was it sorrow? That the someone, very much the same gem as her, had been used like she could have been. Amethyst had been given a choice. Jasper wasn't.

When she heard Stevens's tiny snore, her hands tightened and she tried to suffocate the poor boy in her chest. Not everyone has a you, goofball. That, made the gem feel very special. So she let the thought go, as well as any others that might of wanted to come out to play. Bad ones, good ones. Amethyst was simply in the moment, at the moment.

Though Pearl might have enjoyed staying out on the beach the whole night, she knew she couldn't. Steven would worry. He does worry so much. And the boy has said so a few times when he'd woken up and wandered out to find her on the beach still as a statue with vacancy in her eyes. These were rare moments, and only happened when old memories strolled back into thought; of the war, of homeworld, of...Rose. After recent events Pearl had decided she wouldn't do that to him anymore. So no matter how hard it was to tear her heart away from the ocean, it was time to go inside.

As the steps creaked with their swollen beams, Pearl found her mouth grimacing against the light folding out onto the deck through the windows. Her hand left the railing and her fingers curled. Amethyst better not be keeping him awake. He needs his rest in case we have a mission to go on; or Connie comes over. It isn't polite to yawn in front of company. The door was yanked open, screaming at its poor treatment. Her first step into the home was the only noise she made. Every other that followed was quieter than a mouse in flippers. Hands clasped across that star embroidered on her chest, Pearl crept upon the couch. A coo slipped out.

His hair was still moist and dripping down his back. Pearl knew she should wake Steven so he could dry it properly, and yet...she found herself silent, creeping up the stairs and removing his blanket from the bed, making sure it was snug enough around him, around the both of them. Pearl gave his temple a tender kiss.

Amethyst's neck was draped over the back of the couch head lying partly on the shelf, wild hair blocking the titles of some of Stevens's board games. Pearl leaned over and planted a kiss on her as well; on those big moist lips before sitting next to Steven. Thumbs knitting away, back straight, for only her bottom touched the couch. Pearl overlooked the stars moving across the sky, enraptured by her own twinkling pair closer to home.


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