Who: Dani & Roman. What: Finding comfort after a tragedy (August event). When: August 6th, morning. Where: Roman's Apartment. Rating: Mid – mentions of violence/death. Status: Complete.
What can I do to take your mind away from this for a while?
Daniela didn’t usually visit the Marketplace so early in the day but a morning filled with mishaps - that poor breakfast really didn’t desire that burnt death - encouraged her to stop by on her way to the arts center. It was supposed to be a quick visit, just long enough to grab a breakfast sandwich to go, a boring little side trip. Unfortunately, that trip proved to be anything but boring. Appalling, sickening, and traumatic were far more appropriate ways to describe it.
She had been one of the unlucky few to see the dead guard sprawled out in front of the building. The torn out throat, the pool of blood, and the face contorted into a look of terror - it was horrifying. The guards at the scene briefly questioned her and a handful of others that had stumbled upon the sight. There wasn’t much she could tell them, a fact the guards determined fairly quickly, and she was sent on her way.
Her time at the arts center was short. She tried not to let herself be affected by what she saw but it was difficult. The sight had shaken her up far more than she wanted to admit. Within thirty minutes of arriving she was in the little side room of the dance studio, attempting to hold back tears as she spoke on the phone with Roman asking to visit him. She couldn’t do it; she couldn’t handle what she had seen.
Dani made the trek through the facility, doing her best not to let her emotions overwhelm her. The last thing she wanted was someone to stop and ask her why she was crying. As soon as the door opened tears started to well up in her eyes. “Roman,” she said in a shaky voice before going into his arms.
This was not the way Roman ever wanted to start any day of the week, much less a Monday, but there it was. Once the story had broken he had received several calls from those in higher positions of power than himself for direction, what this was going to look like, how to cover it up. And also, his opinion on the matter from a legal perspective. The morning had been otherwise productive.
He’d been preparing for the day ahead, a late start to the office for work because of the circumstances, when the call from Daniela began to illuminate his phone. Glad to hear from her, it was odd for her to be calling at such a time. If he could accurately recall her schedule she should have classes just then. So with a bit of concern the mobile was plucked up and he accepted the call.
What he hadn’t expected was the shaking, frantic, emotional voice on the other end. Usually she was in good spirits, but the event of the morning had shaken her far beyond what he had ever seen. Of course he was patient, soothing, agreed to allow her to come and see him there in his room. Being the gentleman that he was, Roman also encouraged her to stay on the line with him as she made the journey to his room.
And only when the door opened from her knocking did he end the call, and sweep her into his arms. “Daniela,” he breathed softly, pulling her close, protective.
Safe in his arms, she let her tears flow freely. Her body trembled with each sob as the pain and despair she had been holding back was finally allowed a release. “Roman,” she whimpered, the sad voice muffled. She had dug her face deep into his chest, instinctively looking for that warmth to bring her comfort, and dampening the sound of her cries and whimpers. “It-it,” she tried to explain but failed horribly as her sobs took over her once again.
Fingers would wind through her hair as he held her gently but firmly, hating to see her tears. Part of him wished he could take the emotions and whatever she was feeling away from her and give it to someone more deserving, and the rest of him was glad he had a reason for her to be driven so close.
Guiding her into his arms he lifted her easily and held her, carrying Dani over to the bed. With ease he set her down and then sat down beside her, pulling her close once again. “Shhh,” he coaxed, running his hands over her back and shoulders in an effort to soothe her.
Tender kisses would be pressed into her hair. He leaned backward some, free hand lifting to catch the underside of her chin he lifted her face slowly, gently. “Hey, I’m here for you. You don’t have to tell me what’s bothering you right now, I can wait until you’re feeling better.” It was clear that whatever was upsetting her was important but if she couldn’t bring herself to speak of it until she’d calmed down he understood.
Daniela nodded her head slightly in acknowledgment of his words. Her tears began to subside after what seemed like forever, the gentle massage of his hands over her body and kisses soothing her. Words were a comfort but it was touch that always brought her peace during moments of distress. There was nothing more calming than the touch from a person you cared deeply for.
A hand rubbed the moisture from her tear stained cheeks, sniffling as she worked to control her remaining tears. "There was a death," she began, voice trembling somewhat. Dani wasn't sure if Roman was aware of the discovery or not. "At the Marketplace. I... saw it." Her eyes closed and head lowered, tears pooling near the corners of her eyes waiting to fall. "It was horrible. There was so much... so much blood and..."
He knew she was shaken but the revelation didn’t surprise him. He’d heard about the incident from several sources, though hearing it from her lips made it more real and tangible than before. Roman had seen a lot of things in his life, but never had he stumbled upon a scene such as the one he imagined Daniela had. Fingers would continued to roam over her frame in soothing motions as he listened. “You didn’t do anything and there was nothing you could do.” That made her story no less valid but he didn’t want her blaming herself for something she couldn’t control.
Nor would he let any harm come to her undue. At least, not any that he was the source of.
“What can I do to make you feel better?” He inquired of her in a soothing, calming tone. If she needed to cry he was fine with that, sleep? Sure. Anything she needed.
"I know but." But what? There was nothing she could've done to prevent the death. She didn't even really know who the guard was. There was no reason for her to suddenly believe she could have done something for the man. He was already dead when she found him.
"I don't know," she answered when asked what he could do, snuggling her face into the crease of his neck. That wasn't a particularly good answer and she knew it. "I'm sorry it's just... I don't know." Her voice grew softer, more distressed. "I can't. I can't stop thinking about it. The blood. And the eyes. I thought I wouldn't see that again. I didn't want to see that again."
His grip on her frame would tighten in a comforting way. He didn’t bother trying to shush her, she needed to get it out of her system now or he knew she would just bottle it up and hold it in. Daniela was strong; it was rare that he ever saw her weak or vulnerable and she needed those moments to express herself just like anyone else.
Fingers would run down the length of her back, trail up into her hair in a soothing manner. “Do you remember the first time that you and I met?” He inquired, breathing softly into her ear as if to distract her. “I’ve met a lot of people but I remember the first time I saw you — I don’t think I’ve ever told you this story, I —“ he felt a bit tongue tied, almost sheepish, though it was all a game.
“You’re such a beautiful person inside and out. I’m always so humbled and surprised by your kindness. If more people were like you we wouldn’t have these little episodes.”
Again. It had happened again. The statement swirled around her mind. She had tried so hard not to think that way, not to put the word ‘again’ with this incident she had witnessed, but she failed. She couldn’t stop the memory from years past creeping into her brain. A young man’s dead body, blood, and unseeing eyes. This one, though, this one she had known. He had taken careful consideration not to be found. But she still found him.
“Emilio,” she whispered into Roman’s skin, voice filled with despair. “I’m so sorry Emilio.” Guilt and blame. The nameless guard didn’t bring about those emotions but with Emilio, with her brother, they were powerful and overwhelming. If she hadn’t been so selfish, had paid attention, had done anything else, then maybe… maybe…
Roman’s soft whispers broke through her thoughts. The first time they had met… it had been at the Marketplace, not long after she had been released from the hospital. She had been looking at getting food but was still trying to figure out how everything worked. She must have looked so confused standing there to have him approach her. She was so glad he did.
“I don’t feel very beautiful,” she remarked softly. She was a mess, both inside and out.
“You’re so beautiful,” he proclaimed, shaking his head. “My Queen. Nothing you could say or do would change my mind. I’m here to support you in the down times and the up times.” Pressing a kiss against her forehead he smiled. “I can’t repair what happened to Emilio, but I’m here for you. You’re my girl.”
He recalled the way they’d met. It had been in his plan. Meeting her had begun the plan in motion.
The corners of her lips lifted into a faint smile. There would always be pain and doubts but knowing Roman would be there through it all eased her troubled mind and warmed her heart. She lifted her head from his shoulder, reddened eyes meeting his dark ones. “I’m so glad you’re here with me,” she murmured, touching his cheek gently. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Feeling her shifting in his embrace Roman leaned back some only to give her the room to move. His eyes lowered to find hers, smile never waning or fading. “Me too,” he replied softly in response to both statements, though it could’ve really gone either way. He wasn’t quite sure what she would have done without him most of the time. He was there for her now and that was what mattered the most.
Leaning into her touch his smile broadened. “What can I do to take your mind away from this for a while?” Words were soothing, motions of his hands began once more across her back and shoulders with the intent of being comforting.
“Hold me.” Her face moved close to his, eyes closing as she nuzzled her face into his cheek. The hairs of his beard tickled her skin, a pleasant sensation. “And talk to me. I want to listen to your voice.” The warmth of his body and his hands gliding across her back were soothing but it could only do so much to calm a restless mind. His words and his voice, that smooth baritone, was what brought her out of her own head before; she wanted it to continue to do so.
Obliging willingly Roman held onto her. His embrace was firm yet gentle, strong and supportive but tender. Drawing her close he did as asked. Her request wasn’t one he couldn’t fulfill and talking was something he was good at. Eyes would close and Roman began to tell Daniela a story he was making up on the fly about a beautiful princess who could control the plants and a lowly farm boy who had stolen her heart.
Her eyes closed as she focused on the tale he was weaving. Memories filled with morbidity and pain melted away, replaced by a world of princesses. Perhaps it was silly sitting there in his arms listening to his fairy tale like a child being told a bedtime story but that didn't bother her any. The words were engaging and the world bright; it was exactly what she needed to forget her troubles.
His story continued, an adventure laced with romance. Everything the princess and farm boy did was for the other. They were in the forest now, sitting close to one another around the campfire. It was cold and dark but they weren't concerned as they spoke to one another. Roman whispered the dialogue. "...the farm boy told her. And the princess said--"
"I love you," she finished for him. Her eyes opened and she lifted her head, looking up at him with a soft smile. "She said I love you."
The tale he wove was probably akin to one he had heard at some point in his life. His parents had never encouraged fantasy, never encouraged play that wasn’t absolutely structured. He had never been raised to be a free spirit which is a lot of the reason why he had been crafted into the man he was presently. Regardless, the story flowed easily from his lips and he rolled with it as much as he was able.
As he uttered the next part about the farm boy and the princess talking by the campfire he found himself pleasantly interrupted. Eyes would open and he lifted his head, offering a smile at Dani’s words. Nodding at her, Roman continued, “— I love you.”
“The farmboy was surprised,” Roman murmured, looking into Dani’s eyes, “because the princess had just said what he was feeling in his heart for her.” Shifting a touch to wake up his muscles, he took a moment and then continued the story toward a suitable conclusion. “And, he said to the princess, ‘I love you, too.’”
Her heart fluttered when he repeated those three little words. They were said within the context of the story but hearing him say them… she didn’t realize how much she wished for him to say it directly to her. Neither had uttered the words ‘I love you’ yet. While they had known each other for two years they only just became romantically involved. Daniela was not the kind to declare her love right off the bat; she needed to be sure that the other was ready to love and devote himself to her just as she would him.
Her smile grew as her eyes stared back into his. “Then he took her in his arms,” she murmured, slowly closing the distance between them. Her lips lingered close to his, tempting. “And they shared a kiss.”
As she continued on the little story he offered a patient smile. There was no doubt he had feelings for Daniela though feelings often could be muddled and complicated - more than they needed to be. This felt simple, though, and so out of context for him. But that was what made it special. It was moving the way he directed, gently pushing the sails of the ship further out into the water of life. Whatever it was keeping those words behind their lips would work itself out in due time.
Leaning forward, Roman caught Daniela’s mouth with his own. Eyes would close as the kiss was delivered. He kept it simple, sweet, and suitable for the story. When it was finished his eyes would flutter open and he pulled back a touch to speak, “When did you become a princess?”
The sweet kiss ended, prompting her eyes to flutter open. A smile crossed her lips when he presented his question. “When did you become a farm boy?” She murmured in reply. A soft chuckle emitted from her lips despite herself. It was hard to imagine Roman as a man from the farm. If the story were true to their images the roles would be reversed; he would be a prince and she a lowly maiden.
Daniela wiggled her arm free from his embrace and touched his cheek. “Thank you,” she whispered before once again pressing her lips against his, unable to resist another kiss with his lips so close.
His own eyes opened as the connection severed. He drowned in that tender moment for a second or two before his senses began to flood back. Amusement would crease his features, shoulders would shrug humbly as he played along, “I’ve always been the farmboy,” Roman explained. As she had always been the princess, or so he wanted her to believe. While he knew the image was probably a challenge to think of him in such a way he never acted anything more than humble around her.
Letting her arm go, he leaned into her touch. The kisses began again. Roman began to sweep her close though the connection would not be interrupted as he shifted the both of them into a reclined position. She seemed tired, he wouldn’t make her sleep but perhaps she could do with a bit of rest.
There was a soft sound of surprise muffled by their kiss when Roman shifted their position. She didn't resist, however, and it took little time for her to settle once they had fully shifted. The kiss continued until she had to pull back for a breath. She flashed him a tired smile, beginning to succumb to the weariness caused by her emotional outburst. Her lips moved to the crook of his neck, giving it a brief kiss before nuzzling her face into the soft skin. "I think.. I should rest. Stay with me?" She murmured, her breathing slowing as sleep crept upon her.
Laying there with Daniela in his arms he knew the challenge would be great when it came time to move. Regardless he basked in the moment - kisses between them shared until both sets of lungs began to burn from the lack of oxygen.
A nod would come and Roman held onto the woman nestled beside him, finding comfort in her kisses upon his skin. "Of course," he promised. Work would call him away soon but for now he was content being there with her, keeping her safe and secure.