Neelix glanced over at Heather from across the room.
She sat on the edge of the bed, legs crossed and head tilted downward. Her fingers fumbled nervously at her ipod and he could see that she was lost, deep in thought.
The walk back home had been long and silent. After the initial shock of what had happened at the club, had passed, everything was just.. a blur.
He wanted to say something to her, anything, but her silence indicated to him that she needed to be alone, so he had let her be... hopeful that, when she was ready, she would speak to him.
But she hadn't...
The anticipation had built within him to the point that it had become unbearable, and Neelix finally stood from the kitchen table. He noticed Heather turn her head slightly to glance at him... only to then lower her gaze back down at her hands and grip her ipod tightly as he approached.
He didn't say a word as he slowly sat himself down beside her, but when he saw her eyes close, he knew that she was still reluctant to talk to him. He breathed in deep and moved his arm out to her; gently slipped his finger beneath her chin. She didn't resist as he carefully turned her head to face him, and as he did, she opened her eyes to look up into his.
Neelix stared intently at her, lost within the deepness of her eyes as he tried to read her. She looked so unsure.. confused. Almost as if she was embarrassed or ashamed by what she had done. He felt his chest tighten to just see her like this... He didn't understand; couldn't she see how badly he wanted this? That his heart ached for her? She didn't have to be afraid or embarrassed by what had happened. He wanted her more than anything, and she had finally shown a tiny glimmer of hope; a glow in the darkness that she had opened her heart to him. He needed to reach that glow before she closed back up to leave him alone in that darkness again...
"Neelix, I.." She finally broke the silence between them, but paused. Her breath was deep as if just attempting to speak, was difficult. "It's alright," He whispered to her, "You don't have to feel like you need to explain anything." His voice was surprisingly calm, the complete opposite of how he was feeling inside.
He watched as she closed her eyes tight, and could see she was fighting to hold back tears. He breathed in deep, to prepare himself for his next move, and slowly leaned forward to her, hesitant... but lightly brushed his muzzle against her cheek.
Would she... allow him to kiss her this time...? He remembered when he had attempted this before: It had terrified him despite how badly he wanted to try. He knew this time was different, that they had kissed just before, but... there was still doubt. It hurt to think about it... if she turned from him again, after everything that had happened tonight...
But there was something there, something between them. Why else would she have done what she had? If this was really what he hoped it was, he didn't want to risk her closing back up before he could have his chance to show her how he truly felt. He wanted her to know that what had happened was alright... but he also had to be sure this was something that she wanted, too; he didn't want to pressure her, no matter how badly he had hoped for this opportunity. Now, he'd just have to pick up where she had left off... and see what would happen... He closed his eyes. This would never be solved unless he just acted. Just tried.
Neelix swallowed hard as he gained the courage to continue. He nuzzled her lightly, then nudged his snout against her to make it very clear his intentions. She stayed... Stayed against his hand, which still held her chin in place... He tightened his eyes, knowing she was going to allow him to continue and he came slowly in at her from the side; parted his lips and gently kissed the corner of her mouth.
He heard her breath stutter as she breathed in nervously, but felt a warm tingle run through him as he felt her lips hesitantly kiss back.
He wouldn't waste this chance, and pulled back slightly, hovering so that his lips lightly brushed against hers as he lined up his mouth. He felt her breathe out against him, and tightened his eyes as he breathed her in before he kissed against her again. Her breath became deeper as she kissed back against him just as lightly as the first, and he carefully eased her into a deeper kiss, locking more firmly against her lips. The kiss had become deep enough that he could feel the wetness of her mouth against him, which enticed him to bring his tongue forward to lick lightly at her, wanting to finally taste her. He heard her whimper at this and felt her pull lightly against his hand, in which he loosened his grip against her chin, allowing her to move away.
He watched her as she lowered her head down again to stare at her hands as they fumbled against each other in her lap. She was hiding her face behind her long strands of hair and he could see that her breathing was unsteady.
Neelix had taken the kiss beyond what she was comfortable with, but it was ok, he thought. He hadn't expected to have gotten as far as he did. He inched carefully to her side and brought his arm around her to bring her against himself. He felt some relief as she rested her head against his chest.
Maybe there really was nothing to say... Maybe words just couldn't describe every emotion that was running through both of them. At least he knew he wasn't alone in these feelings anymore... and held her tighter in this comforting thought.
He felt a soft touch as her hand moved over his, and her fingers gripped at him. He pressed his snout down against the top of her head and breathed in deeply as he closed his eyes, before kissing her soft hair.
"So much... has happened." She whispered. Neelix stayed quiet. He didn't want to interrupt her thoughts if she was willing to talk, though he was at a loss for what to say, anyway... There was a long pause before she spoke again, "What am I doing..." Her fingers nervously fumbled against him, searching desperately for an answer.
Neelix closed his eyes, "Falling in love..."
Heather felt her chest tighten at his words.
He rotated his hand and carefully wrapped his fingers around her own to hold it tightly, "And so am I." He told her.
She tightened her grip on his hand. She felt confused, yet sure of herself at the same time.
"I want to be with you, Heather... just knowing how you feel, right now... I can wait. I can be patient for you... give you all the time you need, if we can just make this work..." He sounded as though he was pleading with her.
"But why is this so hard..." She whispered back.
"Because..." He paused, "I'm not the same. Not like you... I'm so used to these things being so common that... it's easy to forget how it must be for you.."
Heather looked up at him. Now she appeared to be searching him for an answer as if saddened by his words, yet relieved he understood... It made her feel like it was ok to feel this way, that she was justified, but the sadness came from the realization that it was true.. It made her feel guilty. Love should know no boundaries... but it didn't stop her from worrying if it may be too awkward. But perhaps this was normal. She didn't know if her fear was rooted in the fact this would be her first love... or that he wasn't human. She just didn't want to screw anything up. And it wasn't just the feeling of being taboo in the eyes of others. Those others weren't here. She wasn't on Earth anymore. They didn't matter. It was about Neelix and her, only they mattered now. What they thought and how things would be different between them, if she just let go...
She closed her eyes and exhaled deeply. She was so exhausted, both mentally and physically from everything that had happened that night. She didn't even bother to open her eyes when she felt his warm hand cup her cheek.. soon followed by the even warmer jolt that ran through her when she felt his lips kiss her own once again. Her eyes remained closed.
Neelix's persistence was paying off, even if just a little... either out of willingness, or her feeling too tired to resist the feelings she had been holding back out of fear. He wouldn't force her, but a deep feeling inside urged him not to let this moment go. To keep trying... he attempted to control his emotions. Pushing too much wasn't the answer, he realized. He had finally had this chance and wouldn't risk pushing her away from him. He had to be content with where things were now.
"Are you alright, Heather..." He whispered against her lips with concern, though half in bliss, trying to control his breath to calm his heart beat.
"I'm sorry Heather.. I didn't mean.. I didn't mean to push you.." He said with worry.
"No, I.. I just need some time, Neelix..." She looked up into his eyes, "I just need some time..."
I first want to say thank you to everyone who reads and enjoys my story and art for EUTS. Your continued support and those who have stuck around all this time and continue to tell me how they feel, means beyond words to me.
This chapter's delay was mostly contributed to the fact that I was becoming too anal trying to make everything perfect (especially with this chapter), that I felt I needed to take a break and step back for awhile.
You guys will probably throw rocks at me for how short this one is, but I assure you, EUTS is back. The next chapters are coming and they're coming soon. Not next month, not next year, but now. And the story is no where near over.
Original description (Jan 2012):
This is one of those chapters that is incredibly difficult to write.
It has to be right, yet sometimes there are just no words to describe these types of feelings...
I had to set myself up to write this (emotionally). Much like any chapter, except.. much (much) deeper. The right music is always helpful. Close your eyes, breathe. Imagine where you are. Dimly lit room. Feel what you write. Feel your character's emotions. Feel the tingles on your skin. Your throat tighten. Imagine what it would feel like to feel those lips against your own, and write down exactly how your body is reacting towards that thought.
And it's hard because so much runs through your mind. I don't even think. I just write it down. Then see the mess before me and bring the pieces of text together like a puzzle, and adjust adjust adjust until what I read is what I felt and hope that the reader will be able to experience what I did.
Story Hub: Click thumbnail to access and choose between all current chapters.
hmmm... im gonna say this story is amazing i hate reading and all but i re-readed this whole story cause it was so long ago that i readed it... normally i dont do this stuff but its truely amazing x3 keep it up! cant wait for next chapter!
I saw your art for this particular chapter randomly on I think the first or second page, it's hard to tell now, and I read the chapter and fell for it, so for the last day I've been reading your story back to back and I love it. It's absolutely amazing and I really feel for the characters, for Heather being the only human on the station and gahh! So many feels man! So many wonderful feels! There's so much depth to your story and I can vividly see in my mind the world you've created, it's wonderful. Thank you for this amazing read-a-thon I've had over the last day, I've loved every minute of it, every word digested, I'm just sorry that I wasn't around when you first started on it. I also browsed through your gallery too and your art is truly amazing, all of your art, not just the art for EUTS. I hope you never stop drawing or writting and I am so looking forward to reading more from you!
Wow. That really means a lot and I thank you so very much for your comment. I think one thing that struck me the most is that you enjoyed other things I've done too, as I know it can be hard for someone to like more than one thing an artist may do, so I really appreciate that.
I don't want you to feel sorry about not being around when I first started. This is an ongoing project and it first started 6 years ago! I also take the occasional hiatus from it so I don't wear myself out too much. I'm extremely thankful for anyone who enjoys it and sticks around with me at any point on the journey of this project.
I thank you again for everything you said. It does truly mean a lot to me and I'm really glad that you have enjoyed the story so far!
Ah don't mention it at all! All of your work is amazing and beautiful and powerful; it always amazes me what people can do with pencils (and computers too!), I wish I had the patience to colour like you do XD
Six years is a long time! But it shows and I mean that in a good way: your characters' world is very well thought out and incredibly detailed too, I was just sitting there reading it and feeling like I was part of it and I love it when someone can grasp my attention like that. Also don't worry about taking breaks, burnout is awful. I'm not going anywhere and I don't think any one else is either.
I love Neelix and Heather .But Veeno is one of the many characters I love form your story. Veeno is like the guy that pull them together .It's Veeno who shown Heather to Neelix in the first place .without Veeno their story would not come in to fruition. Veeno characteristic is so sexy !(Squeal)!!!! his charm ,his smirk ,the caring for his friend Neelix, but the one I most love is that his always try to make a pass at Ala but always gets burns but he always bounce back . That one of the many quality that I love about Veeno!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rocks? You mean BOULDERS! Lol, just kidding. Nah, the shortness is fine; adding more would have ruined the intense emotions in this chapter. Though, it doesn't stop me from wanting to read more! Now I can't wait for chapter 20!
Love this story soooo much. I can't even remember how I startd on it. Yes, it may be short, but you have written such long chapers before that the change in length and pace that it works really well. Just reading this story and watching it's progress has been a huge inspiration for my own story.
Breaks are good to keep the mind fresh. Sometimes you just need to pull back and indulge in your own fandoms so you don't wear yourself out on your personal projects. I am hopeful the next chapter will be ready very soon.