Neither woman was from the city, or had an urban look about her. Still, as far as rural life had it, they were about as opposite as one could go.
Ashei was a mercenary, raised by her single father in the mountains. She had dressed herself in a warm sweater and heavy, woolen velvet pants, a sword at her belt and a cold, brisk look about her demeanour. Her black hair had once sported ponytails, but was now cropped short, and heavy eyeshadow and long lashes framed her chestnut eyes, always gazing off into the distance.
Hena, on the other hand, was bright, close, and personal. She managed the fishing hole (“Hena's Fishing Hole,” she called it), dressed in her usual rustic garb: tall boots, overalls, a long-sleeved shirt, her top buttons hanging open, given the humidity and warmth near the lake. She was gorgeous—and she knew it, flirting casually with most anyone who stopped by. It was a business tactic, she had said, laughing in her carefree way—kept them coming back.
Not that anyone had ever had any success in wooing her—at least not as far as Ashei was aware. Granted, as an asocial, nomadic type, it wasn't as though she was tapped into the latest gossip. But Ashei stopped by the fishing hole every time she was in the area, and Hena made her availability clear in no uncertain terms every time.
A business tactic, she remembered, handing over the rupees for a loaner rod. Ashei never bothered with the canoe, preferring to fish from the shore.
“It's my lunch break; mind if I join you?” Hena asked, grabbing her own rod and stepping out from behind the counter.
Ashei shrugged. Hena knew her well enough by now to know not to expect much in the way of pleasant conversation; if she wanted to come along, it was her decision to make. This wasn't overly unusual either—Hena frequently took her lunch breaks with Ashei when she was around.
“So, what brings you through this time?” Hena asked, as they cast their lines. She had a way of making smalltalk—but keeping her questions straightforward and direct, so Ashei didn't mind.
“Oh, you know how I check in with Telma from time to time. Not a lot of news makes it up to the mountains, yeah?” It made as good an excuse as any.
She still lived up there—in the mountains, even though her father was long departed and she was all alone. Hena glanced her way. Ashei was lost in thought, staring into the pond, as usual.
“Don't you ever get lonely, living up there?” Hena asked.
Ashei looked back, then shrugged. “I interact with people enough while I'm down here. It gives me time to focus on my training, yeah? I don't think I'd do well surrounded by others all the time.”
Hena hmmed, turning back to her rod. A pleasant silence followed for some time. There was a slight breeze, and it created a peaceful ambiance as it passed through the trees.
“You know,” Hena said after a while, bringing in a catch, releasing it a few moments later when she realized it was an utterly unremarkable greengill. “You're pretty attractive; if you found the right person, I doubt you'd have to live alone.”
Ashei rolled her eyes hard, steadfastly ignoring the slight blush which tinted her cheeks. “Men bore me,” she said curtly. “Not interested.”
Hena laughed. “I wasn't talking about a man,” she said.
Ashei merely grunted and pulled in her line, only to be rewarded with an empty hook. She was an abysmally bad fisherwoman. Hena had grown up with Coro, who couldn't make a decent catch to save his life, but compared to Ashei, her brother seemed a complete pro. Still, Hena reminded herself, at least Ashei always stopped by.
Hena had a sneaking suspicion that it wasn't about the fish.
“Here, let me help you,” she said, reaching over and grabbing Ashei's rod gently. Ashei didn't let go, but also didn't pull away. “You need to thread the worm like this, or it'll just fall off,” Hena said.
Hena released the rod, wiping the worm-guts off on her overalls, and Ashei cast it back out into the pond. They were sitting closer now, and Hena took the opportunity to admire the sunlight glistening off of her fishing partner's face.
“You're sure you're not lonely, huh,” she said softly.
Ashei looked her in the eyes—then quickly looked away. The blush was unmistakable this time, and Hena held back a little smile of satisfaction. “Yeah?” Ashei said. “Why would I be?”
“Ugggghhh,” Hena groaned, turning away miffed. How straightforward was she going to have to be with this girl? “I swear, if there's one class of people more oblivious than men, it's lesbians.”
Ashei didn't even try to make sense of that comment. “Wh— What do you mean?” she asked.
Hena was quickly running out of patience. She was a much better kisser than flirter, and she wanted to skip to the part she was good at. “You are a lesbian, right? You think I'm hot, yeah?”
Ashei's mind panicked. She lived alone in the snow—she didn't know the first thing about dating—sure, she tended to enjoy herself more when she was around women, but that wasn't attraction, really, just a preference, and yeah, her thoughts went a little blank every time she looked into Hena's eyes, but that didn't mean she thought she was hot, she was just flustered—it wasn't like she was having fantasies or anythi—
“Look at me,” Hena said, softly.
Ashei looked. Hena had taken advantage of her confusion to scoot even closer; their faces were mere inches apart, and Ashei felt her breath catch in her throat. “Yes,” she heard herself whisper, almost forgetting what she was even agreeing to in the deep blue oceans of Hena's eyes.
Hena straddled her legs there in the grass, facing her, her buttocks firmly planted on Ashei's thighs. She leaned in, and they touched noses. “Kiss me, then,” Hena said simply, closing her eyes.
Ashei leaned slightly forward, meeting her lips. She felt Hena scoot forward in her lap, gently pressing their bodies together as they kissed. She heard a soft moan escape her lips as Hena pushed her gently onto her back.
A fish grabbed hold of her hook, and Ashei's rod slipped from her hands. It slid beneath the surface of the pond, where it would remain forevermore.