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[Deniaud/Salieri] Collaboration Log
Music Database on Shuffle: Starfish and Coffee, Part 1
She always stood at the back of the line
A smile beneath her nose.
Her favourite number was twenty and every single day
If you asked her what she had for breakfast
This is what she’d say
Starfish and Coffee
Adam watched her quietly as he entered the kitchen, his hands sliding into his black cotton pajama bottoms as he regarded the woman in front of him. It had been a surprise to find her there because he had expected her to be in the private cottage that sat in the far back corner in the manicured gardens. The sun had barely touched the horizon, the skies still carried the hint of the night as stars clung to the quickly paling blue. With her back to him, his gaze naturally swept over the ink that penned her life along her spine. His clear blue eyes traced over the familiar curls of her cursive. ‘Je suis le mien,’ he mouthed out to himself and he recalled the night she had revealed it to him. He had spent that glorious night tracing the lines with his finger before his tongue followed hours later. The medical officer couldn’t help the inaudible covetous groan that rumbled through his chest.
She leaned against the large bar-height farmhouse table that served as the prepping island, in addition to being the eating space, in the massive kitchen. Her fingers gripped the handle with her other hand barely wrapped around the warm surface. Her eyes were closed as she held the hammered copper Moscow mule mug to her nose, and she drank in the rich aroma. She allowed herself, in her solitude, to finally let her emotions run wild. Perhaps it’d allow her the chance to recover her strength. Marielle had been careful to maintain with the façade when near her boyfriend, knowing his empathic abilities could easily read her emotions. It kept her at a disadvantage against Gideon. She was exhausted from her near constant evening activities and from the emotional demand it required. It made her weary. Everything just made her weary. Her emotions moved in thunderous waves, nearly making her breath ragged as her chest hurt with phantom pains, until it settled to a near tolerable level.
Her emotions rolled so easily off her, and he staggered a bit at its force. Adam blinked as he stared at the woman and he contemplated pulling her from the depths of her thoughts. The sadness and fear that had been so thick had dissipated in its strength enough for him to know that she had found some reprieve but no relief. His lips formed a thin line. ‘What the hell was that?’ he asked quietly. The medical officer’s head leaned to one side as he dove deep into her subconscious. He could see it, the meticulously cordoned depths of her subconscious. His brow furrowed slightly at the appearance of a door he had seen many times in the past but could never find after they had separated - Philia. Once an open archway to a plain room of calming gold, Philia was apparently isolated by a bulky, worn, and beaten wooden door with no handle, shapely cast iron bars riveted the plain door to the stone wall. An Erinyes - though the creature oddly resembled Marielle - was curled on top of the large plush pillow before the door, her black feathery wings folded over her slumbering body as if it was a blanket.
Her emotions settled, no longer threatening to overwhelm her. A soft breath of relief pushed through thinly parted lips, causing the steam from her hot beverage to roll over the edge and kiss her face. Marielle’s mouth pressed into the rim of her mug for that sacred first sip. The tender taste, that blend of exotic sweetness with earthy comfort, wash over her taste buds. Marielle released a soft lovely moan into her coffee as she felt the tension she’d been carrying melt from her shoulders.
He had been ready to pull her from the depths of her thoughts when her moan filled his ears. The sound sent a shiver through his body. Mindlessly, his steps carried him around the farmhouse table as he neared. The serenity on her features had him choosing to let her linger in her peace. ‘Some things never change,’ he thought to himself as he smiled when she didn’t stir from her cup of coffee. Though keenly observant, she was prone to losing herself in the finer details. Marielle simply let the world melt away when she was hyper-focused. He had always loved being able to sneak up on her when they were younger, and he knew she enjoyed it as well. While she lost herself in her coffee, Adam stood at the stove and took a moment to appreciate her appearance as he stood in front of her.
The light cream sweater she wore apparently had a crew neckline despite how it swooped low in the back, the point meeting just under the middle of her back. The long sleeves were pulled to her elbows. Despite her diminutive height, the length of her legs was only highlighted by the black shorts that covered her hips, the hem brushing high along her thighs. Black flats covered her feet. Her hair was messily gathered up high on her head, the strands collected and held in place by a worn thick red ribbon.
Adam’s gaze lingered on the faded ribbon, fondness swelling in his chest at its sight. He could still remember seeing it for the first time all those years ago, the memory so vivid that it was almost as if it had only happened the day prior. It had been so out of place against the stony walls of the Oakham School. He had spotted it easily despite the wave of students that filled the hallways. That red ribbon found itself in his dreams whenever his thoughts drifted to her, which it did more than he cared to admit. His hazel-speckled blue watched as the engineer took another sip of her coffee. When she released another breathy moan in response, Adam couldn’t help himself. He allowed himself to intrude. He chuckled so not to startle her too badly.
The soft sound had her shoulders jumping slightly, but not enough to spill the hot beverage over her cream sweater. Marielle’s eyes shot open, vibrant and flawless emerald hues found him easily.
Time seemed to stop instantly. Adam was sure. He lost himself briefly in that second as her eyes, flawless and expressive emerald irises that were so reminiscent of summer. His breath hitched, his heart skipped its beat, and he was pulled into another memory.
Marielle’s reputation had been well-established before she had turned sixteen years old. The simple beauty with obsidian hair, expressive verdant eyes, and a heartwarming laugh was popular enough amongst her peers. She was the agreeable sort but high-energy, which gifted her with plenty of acquaintances but few real friends. Like most nights, she had found herself in the kitchen after dinner and after the staff had long cleaned the cooking space. The teen had been granted access two years prior, after her disastrous attempt at truffle making had resulted in her setting the space on fire.
Like always, music filtered from the speaker of her PADD and the teenager was dancing subtly. She stood in front of the silver counter with her arm wrapped around a large silver bowl and her other hand stirring a whisk in circles. Her chin was dipped slightly as her eyes swept over the open leather bound book that rested flat on the surface. Her feet moved through the memorised sequence of positions, her toes pointed out as they moved from the first position all the way to the fifth. She repeated the sequence at sickling, half demi-pointe, and full demi-pointe again and again.
He leaned against the doorframe as he watched her. Adam had sought out his best friend after the lackluster date with Rose Monroe, the brunette bombshell with the reputation boys his age found tempting. Unfortunately, that was all Rose had to offer because the Betazed had found himself completely bored through dinner. There was no conversation. Just silence. The kiss they shared at the end of the night had no spark. Rose also licked his face. Which was gross. Everything just took way more energy than he was willing to spend on someone he didn’t find remotely worth the effort. He shook his head as he watched her lift to full pointe briefly before lowering to the ground, her arm constantly whipping the batter in the bowl. “Is the baking ballerina really the reputation you want following you?”
Marielle visibly jumped at the sound of his voice, the whisk handle clanging against the edge of the bowl as her hand naturally came up to rest over her heart. She spun gracefully, her back pressing into the edge of the kitchen counter. “Adam!” she exclaimed with a soft laugh. “You scared me!”
The blond pushed off the doorframe and approached her. His hands slid into the pockets of his slacks. “I always scare you. You just scare easily, Maddie.”
“I do not,” she argued with a pout. She turned to face the counter, her eyes once more falling on the old recipe book. Marielle reached into the bowl but stopped when she found the whisk floating on the barely lifted egg whites.
He stood beside her, his hips pressing into the counter as he leaned to the side to stare into the bowl. A companionable silence filled the space between the teenagers as Adam watched Marielle fish the whisk out of the bowl with her fingers and proceeded to wipe the handle and her digits with a dishtowel. “Does it bother you that much?” He paused. “Me scaring you?”
Marielle mellifluously hummed to herself. “Nope,” she replied as she popped the ‘p’ with a smile. “It’s such a small surprise, but it makes my heart skip. I like it.”
Adam stared at her. That was not an answer he had expected. “What? Why?”
“Your breath catches. Your heart skips a beat. You feel fear to relief and elation in less than a nanosecond.” A light blush turned her cheeks pink, her voice softening. “I think that’s what falling in love feels like.” Marielle waited a beat, an awkward giggle tumbling from her lips. “So. I don’t mind. Because it’s like I get to fall in love over and over again.”
“Adam,” she greeted obviously, the surprise apparent in her voice. A blush coloured her cheeks. “What are you- How long have you been standing there?”
Just like that, time resumed and Adam was snapped from his memory. He had lingered in her subconscious, so he had been able to witness the locked door to Philia and its guard melded back into the walls almost instantly when he had pulled her from her restful meditation. The buzzing activity that he remembered so well of the depths of her subconscious - Logos, Pathos, and Ethos - was also far more dull than he remembered it to be. The medical officer smiled leisurely in her direction despite the curiosity that spiked. For that moment, Adam opted to simply enjoy her presence and his abilities pulled away from the depths of her subconscious. He couldn’t have lingered there even if he tried; undoubtedly the activity would pick up as the day progressed, and he’d be managing a persistent headache. He turned his back to the woman, his hands easily finding the copper mug behind the closed cabinet. He poured himself a cup of coffee from the large Moka coffee pot on the stove. “That must be one very good cup of coffee,” he mused with a soft and low tone.
Even with his back to her, Marielle could tell he was wryly grinning at having caught her essentially having a sensual experience with her beverage. The embarrassment was short-lived, as it often was with Adam. “Take one sip and tell me that it isn’t one,” she challenged. The theorist briefly sipped her coffee, her gaze following her best friend as he turned and made his way towards her. She turned towards the table as he reached her, the cup lowered to the surface as she slid onto the tall stool.
He slid into the tall seat closest to the corner. It allowed him to sit beside the engineer while also across from her. Adam grinned at the tone as he lifted his freshly poured cup in a silent toast to her before taking a sip. He couldn’t help but laugh at her as she waited for his answer. “It’s not bad.” The lackluster praise was given simply to goad her, his clear blue eyes sparkling in anticipation for the predicted reaction.
Marielle wrinkled her nose at him as she propped elbow on the table’s surface, her chin resting on the fleshy part of her palm. Posture had her leaning closer to Adam naturally, her body just barely brushing against the border of his personal space. She scoffed at his reaction, the thinly veiled criticism causing her to roll her eyes at the man. “You clearly don’t know a thing about good coffee,” she told him with a smile. Her free hand brought her copper mug to her lips and she took a sip of her drink without breaking eye contact.
Adam’s forearm rested on the edge and he leaned forward towards the theorist. His other hand lifted the coffee mug into the air, his elbow resting by the fingers that silently drummed on the table’s surface. “So what are you doing up this early?”
The question had her taking a longer sip of her coffee, her gaze dipping as her thoughts wandered. She had woken before the sun had even broken the horizon, the stars still dancing in the diminishing dark sky. Marielle had lingered between the sheets with Gideon’s arm draped over her thin waist and his nose breathing warm air into the back of her neck. He had sleepily pressed tender kisses on the goosebumps that his breath had created on her skin. With the security chief asleep, she had allowed herself to enjoy the sensation and the warmth of his closeness, content to just be near the man. She had allowed herself that much after the previous night’s activities had taken its toll on her emotionally. Yet, it had been the soft sleepy mutterings of his affections that had her sliding quietly and carefully from between the sheets so that she could escape the sudden panic that had threatened to overwhelm her. Marielle shrugged in response to Adam’s question though, and she gave him a trained smile to ward off any suspicion. She had learnt quite early in life that there was no real way to lie to a Betazoid, or any telepath, but it didn’t mean she couldn’t bend the truth a bit. “Couldn’t really sleep,” she explained.
The Betazoid gave no indication that he suspected she was hiding something of importance. Adam respected those around him enough not to read their thoughts, and that respect was strongest with the woman by his side. He had felt the strange sequence of emotions - the amorous and almost peaceful desire and contentment that morphed into panic before her emotions suddenly stopped, simply stopped - and still he decided to linger in the curiosity instead of diving into her mind to discover its cause. He had seen inklings of the same trend from the woman the previous night. When he had first arrived, he had been able to feel the emotions that moved her like the sweeping motions of a beautifully orchestrated piece. It swept through him like it always did and he felt that strong pull of the temptation that only she could inspire. He was sure Gideon Salieri was the cause. Because whenever she spoke to the security chief, Marielle’s emotions had almost always vanished to leave her a mystery. Adam had never known her to be able to be able to have such an ability. The woman had always worn her emotions on her sleeve; she was the easiest woman to read.
“What?” Marielle’s head leaned into her propped hand as she sipped her coffee. Her decadent emerald hues stared into the crystal blue cerulean hues. He had been staring at her with an unfocused gaze, nearly looking past her as he lost himself into his thoughts.
He blinked and he sheepishly grinned in her direction his pupils focused on her. “Nothing,” he lied easily. “I was just thinking about Randall’s stag party.”
She laughed softly at the answer. “Well. I’m assuming you’re heading out of town since there isn’t really a lot to do here,” Marielle began, pausing to sip her coffee. “Just do me a favour and don’t leave Somerset. The shuttle ride will be shorter that way. One of the coastal towns would be nice. Though, I actually don’t know if Randall would want one of those typical parties, you know? He’s mellow and I can’t tell if he wants a big celebration or not.”
The medical officer’s mind wandered as Marielle began to ramble, her mezzo-soprano voice easing him into a near hypnotic state. He lifted the copper mug to his lips to appear as if he was sipping his drink. Adam’s thoughts returned to his observations from the previous night. Sitting alone in the kitchen with the woman only confirmed his belief that she was drastically different. Here was the woman he had always known - the bubbly, animated, and warm personality. There had been inklings of it through the day when they were together, but her mannerisms had changed whenever Salieri had joined them. Her movements had been more languid. The sway to her hips more pronounced. Her hands slower whenever she touched him. She moved with a sensuality that he had never really seen. There was an almost sinful quality to how she looked up at the Salieri, how she laughed at whatever he whispered in her ear, and how she replied in kind. Adam had felt like a lewd voyeur, his own desires for Marielle steadily growing as he watched her throughout the evening. “Hey, Ellie?” he interrupted her ramblings as he shifted in his seat discreetly.
“Mmm?” She hummed her question as she sipped her coffee.